Each November we pause on Remembrance Day to stand silently in tribute to those who have served, those who still do, and those lost. Without words we say thank you, because truly for such sacrifice words will never suffice. Being November, more years than not our tributes play out against a fittingly solemn backdrop of cold grey skies.
The chill in the air reflects a collective shiver in our souls at the thought of so many lives lost. Soldiers young and old stand shoulder to shoulder to remember the fallen, surrounded by those whom they stood for. Among the flags, poppies, and uniforms you will find sadness, respect, and deep gratitude for duty served. You will find people honouring a debt we can not repay, as its cost was too great. What you will not find is glory. There is none, because there is no glory in war.
In war there are countless acts of bravery, heroism, and selfless sacrifice. Men and women who answer when called have every right to be proud of their service. The burden they carry so others are spared it is a heavy one, and one too many continue to carry through much of their lives. That they can stand tall under its weight is as great a testament to them as their courage is to our nation.
Even these noble acts only stand out though because they are in bright contrast to the death and destruction war brings. This is why there can be no glory in war. Faced with tyranny, evil, and the slaughter of innocents we have too often been left no choice but to fight, and rightly so. We send men and women into harm’s way in hopes of stopping greater tragedy. That said when the only path remaining is strewn with lives barely begun, surely we have failed along the way.
When we pause to mark those who dutifully served both present and past, let us also remember the sacred duty we owe to them. A duty to remember not only their names, but the lessons taught by their sacrifice. It was not just our freedoms of speech and conscience they fought for. Grimly familiar with its horror, they fought for freedom from war itself.
On this day of remembrance let us remember this as well on behalf of those who learned it first hand. There are no successful wars, only failures of peace.
Lest we forget.