Volume 93, Issue 41

Thursday, November 11, 1999


Remembrance relevant to students' lives

Religion holds a place in Remembrance Day

Remembrance relevant to students' lives

To the Editor:

Our yearly day of formalized remembrance is here.

This fall has already brought debate to campus around the theme of military activity. This was engendered by the light armoured vehicle present during clubs week, by the 4th Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. Some of that debate, including the letters submitted by Tammy Drewett, Sean Adams and Pablo Frank, was heartening and all of it permissible only because of whom we remember.

The issue of remembrance cannot be limited to the formalized. Certainly, we cannot formalize the horrors that past and present conflict have brought to individuals, families and nations. We cannot formalize the screams for mothers heard on the beaches of Normandy, or the loss and futility felt by those mothers – and so many others. But we can remember and as is said every year – we must remember.

Remembrance Day is not glorification of war, any more than Take Back the Night is for violence against women. Neither are remotely glorifying, nor should they be. Rather, they are human constructs to recall and thereby work towards the elimination of future atrocities.

As well, they should serve to remind governments – and I refer to the present liberal government, as well as those preceding – of the need to adequately care for the veterans of conflict and respect the service and dedication of the present members of our armed services.

Remembrance Day, for each individual student, is a relevant and non-limiting practice. It does not reflect one's politics, in so much that all but perhaps a few extremist political parties endorse it. It does not mean that you agree with nuclear weapons, with drafting, with the aims and/or outcomes of Vietnam, with uniforms, or with a multitude of other issues. It does not require the remembrance of more than a few exact dates, if that. But it does require that you are human, humane and thinking enough to recall the sacrifices and experiences of millions of human lives and that you recognize they must not be marginalized or forgotten.

I've heard many times the proposed difficulties of wearing poppies. Put a bit of tape on the pin to keep them from falling off, or keep it in a visible section of your wallet. But wear one. All too few on this campus do – it may be in your heart, but for a few days, wear it on your front.

Emily Norman
Honours Political Science II
UWO Model United Nations Secretary

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Copyright The Gazette 1999