Glorification vs. Recognition
On Wednesday, November 11th, Canadians near and far gathered to recognize and appreciate the dedication and devotion of veterans past and present. However, some people refrained from attending these ceremonies. They cite the reason for their absence is because of political purposes, or that they are anti-war.
Some people that object to wearing poppies cite that they believe that it symbolises their tacit approval to everything that the Canadian Armed Forces does: every conflict from World War One to Afghanistan, the unintended civilian casualties that have resulted from those conflicts, the occasional mistreatment of Canadian troops after they return from war (as highlighted in a recent Globe and Mail investigation), etc.
However, Remembrance Day and the poppy do not exist to glorify military culture or affirm and promote wars. The purpose of the ceremonies is to recognize the brave people who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our country and the world at large from malevolent forces. The poppy itself exists to remember those who have fallen.
One must consider what the alternative to holding Remembrance Day is. Presumably, it would entail holding no ceremonies at all, not wearing poppies, and treating it like any other day. Although protestors and regular citizens alike might not wholly agree with every conflict our country has been engaged in, shunning veterans outright is not the correct way to protest. It is frankly disrespectful to not recognize the bravery, unselfishness and dedication displayed by our veterans.
Remembrance Day is as much a day to celebrate freedom as it is to recognize bravery. Its function is not to encourage, glorify, or romanticize war, but to appreciate and remember those who have fallen in order to protect the freedoms we have today.