Privilege Blog

Remembrance Day

Today Veteran’s Day is recognized in America. Yesterday was Remembrance Day in all the Commonwealth countries.

My father’s father and older brother both died in World War II. At the time the headmaster of his private school wrote something like, “Considering the circumstances, the boy has done well this term.”

My mother’s stepbrother came home from Vietnam never again able to participate fully in society.

My stepmother’s stepfather brought her and her mother back from Germany, just as World War II ended. He took care of both until death did them part.

We live in a politically polarized country. But let’s divvy up neither patriotism nor recognition of bravery and compassion. These I believe we can share across the camps. To all who have lost loved ones, in any country, in any battle, I salute you. As our society continues to evolve may we do so in the direction of peace.

Photo from Flickr by Marilynjane

17 Responses

  1. My great grandfather fought in World War I (for Italy), and that was the main reason he left Europe in 1922, completely traumatized by what he had been through. We still have the medals and certificates awarded to him by none other than Mussolini…
    I worked myself in UN peacekeeping before having children (as civilian personnel)and I still remember the faces of the persons that had lost their minds due to the horrors of the brief 2002 war in Ivory Coast. So I join you in your wish for a more peaceful World. May we evolve past hatred and divisions, and understand that we are all one.

  2. What service your family has given! Bless them all for their sacrifice and service. And yes – today of all days, let us put our political differences aside, and let us all be Americans, patriots, and above all, grateful.

  3. As has been much more eloquently said by many others, death does not recognize nor respect political beliefs. Amen to the sentiment that we not attempt to divvy up patriotism or the ‘recognition of bravery’.

  4. Your family has been deeply affected, and losses echo down generations,

    My father served nearly 4 years in the US Army in the Pacific theater during WWII, as a doctor, in the worst conditions. Though he was past the draft age, he enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor, knowing they’d need him. He wrote my mother, “Yes it’s hard, but one day we’ll look back and be proud of what we did.” I think of those lines every Remembrance Day.

  5. I read an interesting article yesterday about the current state of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Eric Shinseki has modernized the hell out of it and made heroic attempts to improve treatment and reduce the shameful problem of homelessness among veterans, and yet the backlog of claims is still massively overwhelming.

    It’s important to remember the living, as well as the dead, who may have returned with serious injuries, both visible and invisible, and that our country’s ability to care for them and to compensate them sufficiently for their sacrifices still leaves quite a bit to be desired.

  6. The days when the privileged serve in the military are fading quickly. I think re-instituting the draft might have pluses, and contribute to peace.

    1. Indeed, a good point. My dad, fresh out of Yale, signed with the Navy immediately after Pearl Harbor. Instantly signed to serve, he said he couldn’t imagine NOT doing so. He went into the so called 90-day-wonder program, emerged an officer and sent quickly to the Pacific, captain of an LST. Miserable vessel, miserable location.

      Lovely tribute Lisa. I know you must have finessed this essay mightily because I do recall the grilling you got at MemDay. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this here, but this is why so many of your followers adore you so: you take things to heart. You’re willing to be taught something you don’t yet “know” first hand.


  7. When I was a boy all the church bells, fire station horns and factory whistles in Philadelphia would go off at exactly 11 minutes after 11 Am, giving everyone a reminder to pause and think of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

    Haven’t heard them in many years.

  8. And the image brings back the words of the famous poem. I share your sentiment about moving toward peace. My husband, just this evening, remarked that he was reading an article which explored the idea that our country has never really been at peace. Can we really blame others for this? Or, does it have to do with our own society?

  9. Thank you all so much for your responses. I worry I get too sentimental, and then I think of those closest to the lost ones, and I publish anyway.

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