The history of mankind, from the perspective of a casual observer, seems mostly one of battle.
The unfortunate view of many, limited as it is seen through a not-so-educated lens, is of many empires. Many conquests that destroyed empires or kingdoms or fiefdoms of the time, allowing new ones to emerge.
Change was common. Often it was imposed on a citizenry from outside. Sometimes, it came from within, through revolution.
Watching the turmoil in the United States over that country’s current election has many aghast. They won’t even turn on a TV, a radio, or turn to a website. Something to do with the election may suddenly pounce upon them, like a voracious tiger wanting to devour any sense of decency one may have.
American history tells us, in fact, there have been several hotly contested presidential elections. Probably, in hindsight, most were bloody, deep in corruption, and bitterly fought.
The same has happened, at least since the early days of the 11th century in England, and centuries later in France. Certainly, such has happened in America, before and after the Great War of 1917, which began the history of Remembrance Day.
Part of the reason we have Remembrance Day ceremonies is to remind us of the sacrifices our forefathers made in distant lands to preserve a way of life at home. It is often written and said, if our brave men and women who died could only see today what they fought for years ago. Would they have been so quick to take up arms, prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice?
We would say, without doubt, yes, they would.
It is very saddening to witness great nations of the world all too often become immersed in their own petty squabbles and arguments. For every voice wanting free trade to spread wealth to all nations, there are dozens more who want to somehow block such, or want to contrive the activity so they can benefit the most. Even if that means destroying industry, jobs, and people’s lives in their own home country.
Take topics that consume the world today. Climate change. National defense. Religious disagreement. As said, for every voice of sanity and reason, there are malcontents in every direction hoping to disrupt, destroy, or benefit from whatever action they can impose on the rest of us.
This can only happen if it is allowed. It can only happen if we allow it. Politics can easily breed disagreement and argument. We may find such interaction unwelcome. The interaction may indeed lead to violence. In extreme, it may lead to revolution.
When the dust settles, the end result may be less perfect than before, or somewhat better.
Hopefully, it will continue to be our choice. This is why we remember. Sadly, but with great respect to our veterans.
“Only the dead have seen the end of war” – George Santayana