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An act of remembrance

An act of remembrance


I feel strongly about Remembrance Day, but my feelings are complicated, and they lead me not to wear a poppy.  I have often had to explain this choice to other adults, but this year I found myself needing to explain it to my own child, which was a far more difficult experience.

Ethan, my eldest, has chosen to learn about WWII recently, especially the parts where Canadian soldiers played a significant role.  As I help him with this, I have been trying to impress on him the gravity and cost of war, encouraging him to remember that these were real people who fought and died on both sides, not just faceless divisions of troops, so he was sincerely concerned that I was not wearing a poppy to remember the people who had died.

I tried to explain that I was uncomfortable with how we talk so easily about remembering the cost of war but forget about all the conflict in the world that is going on right now.  I told him that I thought it was disrespectful to the people who had died for us to say, “Never again,” while we are still doing many of those same things.  I also told him that it was okay for him to wear a poppy if that was how he wanted to remember those who had died and those who are still dying.

I’m not sure how well he understood me, but it was strong moment between us, a conversation worth having.