Sunday, October 29, 2006

Remembrance Day

Being at CMU has been an interesting experience. I have met many new people who have differing opinions on just about everything. The opinion and attitude that has stuck out at me the most over the past few months is their opinion on war and peace.
As a Mennonite school, CMU believes in nonviolence and conflict resolution. They do not believe that war is ever necessary or justified. This idea has its merits, but I disagree. However, this post is not about why I am not a pacifist. This has to do with something that came up this week.
I was talking to some staff and students about music (what else?), and the topic came up of my first paid gig as a trumpet player. I was asked to play Last Post and the Rouse at a junior high school for their Remembrance Day assembly. The staff member asked me "Is this going to be a problem for you?" I was a little confused, but I understood when she asked me what my church background was. We started talking about how Remembrance Day is something that is almost "swept under the rug" by Mennonites. These Mennonites do not want anything to do with war, even a reminder. I thought about it for a second, and then I replied with this:
Even if you believe that war is completely wrong, and that you are totally opposed to ever participating in a war, ignoring Remembrance Day is a slap in the face of all the veterans and peacekeepers who have gone before. Even if you don't agree with war and fighting, the fact of the matter is that these people DID fight and some of them DID die so that we could enjoy our freedoms today. Those freedoms include the freedom to oppose war, and the freedom to think whatever we want. One can disagree with war, but ignoring those who have given their lives in war flies completely in the face of disagreeing with warfare in the first place. If you forget those who have fought to preserve our country and freedoms, you give up any part of those freedoms which they preserved for you.
I am going to make sure I have a poppy this Remembrance Day, not to annoy the Mennonites, but to remind myself that my freedoms have been bought with a price.
We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument. Heather Robertson, A Terrible Beauty, The Art of Canada at War. Toronto, Lorimer, 1977.


Blogger ty said...

You posted again!!!! wow, I thought that perhaps this blog had seen its youth pass by, and had become an adult blog with no more room for entries, but it looks like we can make another mark on the door frame, because this blog grew a whole nother entry....I'm still waiting for a growth spurt, when do you think that'll come?

beautiful entry. ask me about my rememberance day experience some time.... later friend

10:41 PM  

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