By Letter to the Editor on November 11, 2017.
This year, it’s more important than ever to remember what “lest we forget” really means.
We remember the lives lost in order that this may never happen again. We celebrate Remembrance Day not to glorify military action, but to remind us of its costs. As citizens, it’s our duty to preserve the freedom for which our veterans sacrificed themselves. This isn’t something that happens automatically; it’s something we have to continually work for.
This means rule of law institutions, and diplomacy. It means freedom of the press and the right to protest. It means protecting the rights and safety of our most vulnerable and marginalized citizens.
World War One was basically caused by petty but powerful little men pounding their chests, with no regard for the price that would be paid in human blood. Have we learned a lesson about the power of diplomacy and de-escalation? About leaders’ decisions reflecting the will of all citizens?
World War Two was caused by the idea that some people, nations or races are superior, and fit to rule over, torture and kill others. Have we learned a lesson about giving everyone equal respect, rights, opportunities and protection, regardless of race, gender, ability or sexual orientation?
Be an informed citizen. Vote. Call your representatives. Read the newspaper. Subscribe to a newspaper. Write letters to the newspaper. Travel. Meet people who are different from you. Support the rights of people who are different from you. Protest injustice. Get a library card and use it. Donate to non-profits (ones that support veterans and protect civil liberties would be in the spirit of the holiday).
It’s not enough to thank those who serve in the military, and then take the resulting freedom and democracy for granted. We can all play a part to prevent history from repeating itself.
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