“Praising what is lost makes the remembrance dear.” ~ William Shakespeare
My father served this country.
My grandfathers served this country and my grandmothers, too.
They have served and sacrificed for my freedom and yours, and they did so for longer than a moment.
As a boy of fifteen, I remember listening to my great grandfather’s recollection of the Halifax explosion during World War 1. You could see something in his eyes that spoke of things lost: friends, family … likely some measure of innocence. Since that time, I’ve been fascinated with the stories of the men and women who have lived through the greatest challenges of standing up for something and defending higher principles.
Men and women who were willing to give everything to stop tyranny, defend the defenceless and forge a better path forward. As they speak, you can see the pain they endured in their eyes. You can hear the echos of their fallen friends in their voices. You can see how they carry the memories of every horror they experienced with them every day of their lives.
Much longer than a moment.
It took many years for me to realise that the best apology a person can offer is to not repeat whatever they were apologising for. The words are meaningless, an empty gesture, without a daily commitment to demonstrate them through our behaviour and conviction. What we do proves what we say.
The same is true for honouring those who have served.
While there is still very much a need for those of character and good values to stand against aggressors, it doesn’t need to always be that way.
If each of us made the commitment to not being the aggressor, no one would be required to stand against another. Do not start fights and do not escalate them, either. Choose to answer insult with words, rather than the fist. Believe in reason over reaction. Do not be the aggressor. Remember that each day you have came at a cost to someone else.
THAT is how we honour their service and their sacrifice.
On Remembrance Day, consider that during your moment of silence … and all your moments after.