This Wednesday we remember those who fought for their country. Originally a day to mark the end of WW1 – at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month – Remembrance Day now gives us an opportunity to remember men and women who have defended their country across the years.
Days of commemoration do raise questions for all of us. Are we glorifying war? Is it a day only for the ‘winners’, or do we include those on the opposing side? Over one hundred years on from the end of WW1, is it realistic to expect people to be grateful for the sacrifice people made in that war (and in equally, in WW2) or is it enough to be respectful and contemplative?
Asking these questions doesn’t mean we don’t value the sacrifices of those who fought and came home changed, if they came home at all. Nor does it mean we don’t recognise the hardships of those families who waited for loved ones to return. Rather, it means we are making good use of the freedoms they fought for.
However you would answer these questions, take time on Wednesday to remember that across the world, across the years, men and women have sacrificed everything for their countries, people and governments. That sacrifice is not lessened by the side they fought for, or the conflict they fought in.