Remembrance Day 2011

Remembrance Day, also known as Veterans Day in the U.S.A., seems to be taking a larger portion of public attention each year. Here’s a reflection on that fact, from a letter that I received from

Hi Allan –

Remembrance Day is changing as the veterans of the First and Second World Wars, and the Korean War, pass away. More attention is being paid to current and more controversial conflicts, such as Afghanistan.

Remembrance Day was first marked within the British Commonwealth (which included Canada) on November 11, 1919, at 11 a.m. to commemorate the end of the First World War upon the German signing of the Armistice and to remember those in the armed forces who gave their lives.

Back then, the majority of the people killed in wars were soldiers. Today it is civilians who pay the highest price. In Afghanistan, fewer than 3,000 foreign troops have been killed in a conflict that has claimed between 14,000 and 18,000 civilian lives.

But in many of the speeches made by Conservative government officials at this time of year, the focus is on commemorating wars, rather than trying to prevent war itself.

For instance, Prime Minister Harper freely connects the battles of the past, such as Vimy Ridge, with the war in Afghanistan.

This is leaving many to wonder why we gather together each November 11. Is it to mourn the soldiers killed, or to adulate them? Do we lament war, or commemorate it?


Posted November 13, 2011 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

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