With Remembrance Day upon us I can’t help but think of the many things I am grateful for. Many members of my family fought in WW2, some returned home to tell about it. It is a long held tradition to attend the cenotaph and take a moment of silence together. Today I marched alongside my coworkers and lay a wreath in remembrance of their sacrifice. I attended for my family and those who go to war as EMS providers. My partner’s best friend also serves in the Canadian military, so I think of him. I also think about other mutual friends, acquaintances, and my post-military patients who have shared their stories with me. As a medic have I seen a handful of war wounds despite never working in a war zone. I’ve chatted with broken minds, I’ve been surprised by missing limbs, I’ve gotten long winded histories about bullet scars. Some are healed; some never will.
At one time I considered joining the military as a medic. I tried to get comfortable shooting guns privately on a friend’s farm. But it turns out I’m not that happy around weapons. The sound makes me jumpy and that results in a pretty inaccurate shot. To be honest I really just want to help people, not potentially have to harm them. For me the role as a military medic would have been spiritually conflicting. In fact the idea of war makes me feel conflicted- I live a privileged enough life that the concept seems like insanity. Every ounce of me stands for peace and my well-educated brain wants to believe there are other ways to obtain it besides decimating peoples lives (the ones at home and abroad). How can I simultaneously support our troops but rile against the idea of war? It stems from bitterness toward the need, and an awe of those brave enough to embrace it.
I am thankful to be able to have these kinds of thoughts, to feel deep down that peace is not only obtainable but also a human right. I am thankful for the people who were brave enough to create a space for me, and people like me, to hold these beliefs.
Because of our military I do not have intimate knowledge of bomb shelters, or hide who I am within them. I am thankful for our soldiers who help communities rebuild internationally after being torn apart by man and, at other times, natural forces. As a Canadian I am able to experience a level of freedom perhaps only 5% of the world’s population will ever know. I am intensely proud of this.
So today I stand in support of those who have served and those I hope never have to. I hope as a country we choose to elect governments with enough integrity to risk Canadian lives only when truly necessary. I hope as a people we continue to evaluate the implications of the word “necessary” with wisdom.
Lest we never forget.
Thanks to William for taking the pictures.
- Canadian veterans this Remembrance Day: Standing with heroes (beaconnews.ca)
- In Photos: Remembrance Day across the world (globalnews.ca)