Editorial: Lest we forget

There are some words and phrases, once very common, that our younger generations are already forgetting.

‘Rotary phone’ is likely to generate some serious blank looks if you mention one to anyone under 30. Or maybe try talking to a teenager about a CD.

Unfortunately, war isn’t on that list of archaic phrases. War has never gone away, not only in real life but in our entertainment. We perpetuate it through novels, movies, television, video games and more.

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In a way, that’s a good thing. While we tend to glorify war, the other side of the coin is never forgetting the travesties that war brings upon us — and that’s the part that should never be forgotten.

War still fills our headlines daily and the list of Canada’s war dead grows year by year, victims of both peacekeeping actions and wars. And while the faces of the old veterans may become memories, new veterans of new conflicts are taking their place.

And that is where Remembrance Day comes in. It’s a day to remember those that were — and still are — being lost to war in defence of the freedoms and the lifestyle we enjoy.

We’re very lucky in Canada. Those men and women who answer the call and travel overseas both to fight in wars and on peacekeeping missions are part of the reason wars don’t touch Canadian soil.

Their bravery and sacrifice ensure that we at home don’t suffer the depredations that those living in war-torn countries like Syria experience daily.

Remembrance Day allows us to pay tribute to all those men and women, past and present, living and dead, who have given of themselves to not only protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy but also to shield many of the world’s peoples from those who would take their freedom.

It’s fitting that the focus of Remembrance Day is not glorifying war, but remembering the loss and horror in a prayer for peace.

The warning that greets visitors passing through the gates of the Auschwitz prison camp, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” remains true today.

When it comes to war, humanity is still repeating its mistakes, and we’re not likely to stop anytime soon. Still, it’s nice to imagine a world where the concept of war is as foreign to our youth as spinning the dial on a phone.

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