Gill sent this yesterday, but I ran out of time to post it so I’m posting it now. We had a conversation about this, and I told her to try not to beat herself up so much because as kids, we all do things that seem like a good idea at the time, but aren’t very smart. That’s why we have the time to make those mistakes safely so we can learn from them. I think if I could have joined in, I might have told her 14-year-old self that if we don’t take time to remember these things, we’ll start taking them for granted on a large scale. I know that we still have wars, so it’s not like our job is done because we have these ceremonies, but I think it’s important to keep the message alive that wars are a tragic loss of life. Also, veterans don’t live forever and shouldn’t be expected to do all the reminding.
When we are teenagers we play stupid games unaware of the stupid prizes. When I was 14 I thought in my misguided mind that boycotting the Remembrance Day ceremony at my school would be a great idea. I thought that it was a direct violation of the pacifism I proclaimed. When I went to voice these ideas to fellow classmates they just would tell me how ungrateful I was before walking away and calling me retarded.
What I believed At The Time
I thought by attending the ceremony that I was endorsing war and the violence that came along with it.
What I would Tell and Do To 14-year-old Me
I would sit her down, pour her tea or hot chocolate, and angrily tell her to give her head a shake. Once I’d calmed down to reasonable I would tell her about the fact that her relatives served, and what would they think of her trashing their memory. I would also tell her that if they hadn’t fought for what was right, she may not be here, or we’d all be writing these things in German.
I must be weird, because I never got the feeling that Remembrance Day ceremonies were glorifying war. They were sad and sombre. We listed off a bunch of names of people who never made it home, and talked about a bunch more who did make it home, but were never the same again. But she’s not the only one who got the glorifying message. the white poppy crowd tend to agree. I wonder how it could be made more clear that this is not a celebration.