There are many wheels turning these days, be they locally, nationally, or internationally, all of which impact our lives and provide so many inputs on so many fronts it can be overwhelming. So instead of focusing on the many I would like to take this opportunity to centre our focus onto one: Remembrance Day.
Ever since the first Remembrance Day ceremony took place we have echoed “Never Again”. From veterans of The Great War and World War II, on down the line to war survivors, their children, grand-children, and great-grand-children alike; no matter which generation each of us belong to, these two words have echoed in our ears for many years, every year at this time.
Several years ago, I was participating in a Remembrance Day ceremony at a local high school and had the great pleasure to meet one of our retired Brigadier Generals who was also presenting. At the end of his presentation to the assembled teens he asked if anyone had any questions for him. At first no one stirred, then a single hand, tentatively raised, was noticed and he called on the individual to speak. The question that came from the young teenager was, “What is the cause of war?” Silence followed. The General put his head down and walked the stage for a moment in notable contemplation then stopped, centered his gaze on the originator of the question, and answered: “The vast majority of wars are started by middle-aged men with power who are seeking more power, and are willing to allow other people’s children to die to give it to them”. I will never forget those words. They rang true…simple yet profound.
After the crowd of teens had returned to their classes, I found myself in private conversation with the General and would add to his words, so eloquent and succinct, that in order to generate a war there must be contrived, by and through various means, an “Us against Them” mentality to polarize the populations. A rallying cry, legitimate or not, so strong the people will follow it to whatever end. What followed was then the sad realization that wars kill people but not the governments which are all too often headed by the middle-age men the General spoke of.
“Never again”….What do those words mean? Do they have one meaning or many? Is it that we will never again allow a world war to take place? Never again allow tyrannical governments into power and risk the loss of generations at their hands? Never again allow ourselves to be manipulated into following the narrative of those middle-aged men?
I believe the answer to this or these questions are very deep and personal and that by their very nature have no answer one person may give for another, but your answer is worth thinking about…
My best to each and every one of you,
President, Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association