Friday, November 9, 2012


I just finished a really long post explaining my internal conflicts around Remembrance Day. Basically I'm a pacifist who is moved to tears by the sacrifices made for our country by soldiers. I'm someone who thinks fighting is almost never the solution, but that occasionally it is -- and the enormous challenge is to figure out, in the moment, which kind of situation we face.

I struggle to wear a poppy because it feels inadequate to express my complicated feelings about the day -- and also because those suckers either fall off or stab you -- but I don't want to not wear a poppy. I know that I'm not on the white poppy team. I know that the "to remember is to work for peace" pins don't quite do justice to the day either.

If any book series has ever formed me, it is L.M. Montgomery's Anne books. The final installment of the set is called Rilla of Ingleside. It has been called one of the finest depictions of the First World War on the home front, and I recommend it to you heartily. But there is one scene in which a pacifist gets up at a prayer meeting before the soldiers leave PEI to cross the Atlantic, and begins to pray against the war effort, and someone else stands up and curses them down. Here is what I know: I don't want to be either of these folks.

I know that the most patriotic among us, and the most decorated of soldiers would say: never again. I know that there are few war mongers out there. I know too that conscientious objectors are sometimes the bravest people out there -- stretcher bearers who refused to take up arms but who were willing to serve their country and cause by running out into harm's way to bring back the fallen. If I have to stand somewhere, I think it's with them.

And here else is where I want to stand:

I want to stand with those who take the very tools of destruction and make them into something beautiful and transformative, who remember and re-member quite literally.

Thank you to those who stood up and fought for us. Thank you to those who would not fight but still stood with them and with us.

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