... is both this:
I am the granddaughter of a First World War flying ace. I honor his memory, even as I look at what he and his fellow soldiers and airmen wrought - all for nothing - in Europe. That long ago war, once called The Great War, was fought because the rulers of Britain, European countries and others elsewhere tripped over a welter of treaties. They worked hard to kill off a generation of children, and to pave the way for an even more horrific engagement. So how do I honor people who did that? I don't. But I do honor the children and other cannon fodder who thought they were dying for a good cause.
I'm also the daughter of a former Navy Nurse, who never served in wartime, but knew many who had. She and her sister had helped host dinners in their family home, for young airmen who left as combatants, and returned as names on cenotaphs. She watched the Second World War from the safety of her living room, but those boys, those cenotaph lines, they made it real for her. This war was made necessary by people whose horrendous actions approached madness, and who threatened to engulf the world in flame. I honor those who fought in that war.
Other wars came and went, some of them called "police actions" and others without any reasonable name at all. I honor all of those who got caught in them.
I watched the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa, Canada this morning. It is a tradition that I never want to give up. Because we need to remember.
And perhaps the way we most need to remember is that ruined field sitting above. That is what war is. That is what we must never honor. This entry was originally posted at https://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/750463.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comments. You can comment there or here, but prefer to read over on DW. You can comment there using open ID if you don't have a DW account.