Remember this November
By former Canada’s World blogger Lisa Wagner:
This year will mark the 90th anniversary of World War I. Even as someone who has been to ceremony after ceremony every year on November 11th, ninety years ago still has very little resonance in my life. I was born almost 70 years after the end of WWI, and 40 years after the end of WWII. My parents weren’t even born when Canada entered the Korean War in 1950, and though I was born near the end of the Cold War, I can’t remember a world in which the Berlin Wall still stood and have never felt the real fear of nuclear attack. Even living through the beginning of Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan, I feel very removed from violent conflict. Every generation, thankfully, moves further from war; but when Remembrance Day comes along, what are we remembering?
We’re remembering the great sacrifice that has been made for Canadian freedom, and we’re remembering how fortunate we are as Canadians to live in a free and relatively peaceful environment. In a world where most of us take our freedom for granted, though, how do we make Remembrance Day into something more tangible? Afghanistan is a good place to start. Although most Canadians wouldn’t think of Canada as currently “in war-time,” the Canadian military is involved abroad. Whether or not we agree with the politics of Afghanistan, Canadians have made the choice to go and fight for what they feel is a just cause. As fellow Canadians, we should support their cause and the gravity of their sacrifice. We need to remember that although wars have been fought in the past, Canadians still have a real presence in military operations today.
The Canadian military has not been limited to war, and we need to remember this as well. Canada has been touted as one of the world leaders in peacekeeping, and Canadians are proud of this role. Canadians value democracy and human rights, and have taken steps to pursue these objectives abroad through involvement in Egypt, the Middle East, Haiti, Rwanda, and other nations facing political and humanitarian crises. Canada led the initiative to ban landmines, and although Canada has faced scrutiny over the lack of leadership anywhere outside the field of landmines, this is still a large accomplishment for Canada in the world. All these contributions have been made by Canada to better the international situation, and we should remember this.
Doubtless there are many more ways in which Canada can increase its role in the world, militarily, environmentally, economically, etc. But let’s all take this November 11th to remember that Canada is a pretty great place in the world to be, and have faith that our international role can only continue to expand.