i was profoundly struck this remembrance day by the importance of this particular celebration and how its meaning can be so powerful and relevant, and yet so easily disregarded.
remembrance day was originally observed to commemorate the end of world war i, the most terrible war that the world had seen to that date. since then, the holiday has survived to celebrate the ultimate sacrifices of generations of soldiers and peacekeepers who have fought to protect the free and democratic way of life, so that thir progeny would have the freedoms and rights to choose to live how they wanted, free from fear and persecution. this is the most noble of motivations, and the way that i think that we all choose to observe this date.
soldiering has always been one of the most morally problematic of professions. ultimately, soldiers fight for their families and loved ones – to protect them from those who would do them harm. soldiers on both sides of the enemy line do this, and both sides must feel that their cause is just. the dilemma for the solider is that he or she is an agent of his or her army and must follow orders in order for that army to effectively protect his or her family. the soldier is the hand and the foot and the eye and the ear of the army, but not it’s brain – and that is the great tragedy of the military. it is an autocracy designed to protect our democracy.
i have known only a handful of soldiers in my life, and they have all been fascinating people, all of whom i respect and admire greatly. i think about the soldiers who have come before them and what they’ve endured and what they’ve seen and done, and civilian man just cannot comprehend what it must have been and what it must be like. i, the philosopher, will always be in awe of the soldier.