Special to The Afro News, Vancouver
World wars have come and gone, yet we still have wars around us today. It is conflict regardless of its size or intensity. It is the thief of quality lives whether it is called terror, rebellion, liberation, a civil conflict, a war on drugs or an insurgency.
Humans struggle with the decisions to go to war and then endure the daily nightmare to not only survive. The Afro News, at this special time of remembrance, wishes for people to have the courage to summon forgiveness and then the strength to face the personal and community challenge to move through the difficulty towards lasting peace and constructive growth.
On November 11 we remember the time and the reasons humanity chose to go to war. It is in all our benefit to remember the aftermath and to give attention to how we will take these lessons and feed future generations and to rebuild.
What we remember when we are awake in the light of day on November 11 is Veteran’s Day, Poppy Day, Armistice Day and Remembrance Day. These are the various names, depending on where in the Commonwealth or larger world you live, by which we recognize the day an armistice was declared.
Traditionally, on Remembrance Day we stop activity and observe two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (11:00 am, 11 November), as that marks the time (in the United Kingdom) when armistice became effective and the guns fell silent.
In Canada, we see single red poppy flowers worn on lapels, or wreaths of artificial poppies begin to appear two weeks in advance of the one official day. The flower as emblem resulted from the famous poem ‘In Flanders’s Fields’, written by Canadian military physician John McCrae. The poppy, he noted, bloomed blood red on the worst battlefields of World War I, near Flanders.
Since then we have seen peace movements and marches. Bridges have been built for education and support the world over. Memorials have been erected. Yet, for many Canadians, both new and settled, war is not just a phenomenon seen through the lens of a television camera or a journalist’s recounting from afar.
The Afro News with its mission as The Voice of Unity – and new Canadian, Honore M. Gbedze at the helm respectfully covers current local and global situations. The publication reports on strife and challenge and also presents news of hope of a positive and healthy future. It reconciles this in the same way that the world honours the dead who served with valour and courage – on opposite sides of the battle lines.
Universally, we must surely remember the sacrifices as their belief in freedom, of choice, in peace and that their actions would make a significant difference for a safer and better future.
We are wise to acknowledge the hard truths of history and to work for the very values our predecessors, our family members, our fellow citizens fought hard to achieve wherever they came from. The responsibility is now on us to remember and to not take for granted the Canadian values and institutions that support us all.
Who, what and how will you remember on this day in 2011?
You will have your own families, friends and heroes to remember. We may all, however, share in their legacies as the actions and sentiments felt on any part of our planet are now almost instantly shared electronically with all of humanity.
The demand now is not just for remembrance but for active participation in resolutions – economic, cultural and in the securities necessary to support our ever connected planet. When we gather this year, we share our burdens and responsibility with millions who are already on the streets demanding a better life for all. Let’s stand for peace together and make good on the potential previous heroes gave their lives for a better world for all