Today is November 11th. Today lots of people in different countries will pay tribute to men and women who did military service in times of war. And that got me thinking about why we should remember them. So I decided to write about that.
we’re asked to remember on November 11th, most of us simply do it
without question. We wear poppies on our coats or hats. We observe moments of
silence at the eleventh hour. We attend ceremonies at war memorials where
wreaths are laid. And we listen to politicians give speeches filled with inspiring
buzzwords but without genuine heart.
people or events that deserve it is a proper thing. But it’s worth asking some
questions: what are we actually honouring? Why are we remembering?
certainly not commemorating the act of war. It’s an absurd and terrible course
of action. The renowned military theorist Carl von Clausewitz famously wrote
that warfare “is merely the continuation of politics by other means.” In that
case, war is the human circus logically taken to its illogical extreme.
that’s about enough on politics and war from me. I’ve got better things to do
then rant about the politics and media and spin of The World. I’d rather use my
words on people who deserve them.
November 11th I don’t honour the countries that men and women fought
for. I don’t think about the politicians and bureaucrats whose policies sent people away from their homes to fight and die. I don’t listen to the speeches given by
politicians and public figures on November 11th either. They’re the
direct descendants of the Piggies who created the wars to begin with.
don’t think much of people who make others slog through shit because they don't want to get their own hands dirty. I think even less of planners and talkers. And politicians and bureaucrats (with some exceptions) tend to be both. A wise man once
said that they ain’t worth the blood that runs in their veins. I tend to agree.
do think highly of doers, however. And that’s what the men and women who we
honour on November 11th were.
parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were the people who put their
heads down and did what needed doing. They were the soldiers who fought, the
nurses and surgeons who tried to put the soldiers back together, and the
workers and volunteers on the home fronts who worked to keep those soldiers and
nurses and surgeons going.
did the dirty work. And they got their hands dirty doing it. And for that they’re
worth every drop of blood that ran through their veins.
nurses and surgeons were put through stresses and hardships that most of us
will never know. Soldiers were asked to kill and
fight tooth and nail to save themselves from being killed. Nurses and surgeons
often risked being blown apart to try and save torn-apart soldiers. There can't be anything more demanding and terrifying than trying to avoid being blown
apart or getting ripped to shreds by flying hunks of metal. And this is what the
talkers and planners asked our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents to
they did it.
then they did something even harder. When the wars they served in had ended,
those that survived came back home and took off their military uniforms. They
put their workboots, aprons, and business suits back on and returned to the
offices and garages, kitchens and classrooms, shops and salons, and factories
and farms of their chosen professions. They left making war behind to make a
living once again.
parted ways with their bands of brothers and sisters. They returned to their
mothers and fathers, their siblings and cousins, and their friends and lovers. And
they started families of their own. They left the shedding of blood behind them
by giving life and love back to the world through their own sons and daughters.
parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents came home and did what many of us
struggle with under much less severe circumstances. They left hardship and
horror behind and tried to lead decent, normal lives. They tried to make peace
with themselves and find peace in their own time. They moved on.
comics became popular in the final years of the Great Depression and during the
Second World War. That’s not a coincidence. Superheroes were brought to life through
ink and paper, pictures and print. They survive beyond comic books in our
parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents served in that war. They served
in other wars too. They exposed themselves to conditions that could shatter a
person’s heart, mind and body. They had the balls and the guts to do what most
of the ‘great men of history’ could never do.
live because our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents endured and moved
on from experiences most of us can never understand. It’s simply further
evidence that our existence in this universe is an absolute miracle.
live because they survived.
Today is November 11th.
were the Super Heroes.
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