“Lest we Forget”
I tattooed it on my arm, and to me, its a way of life. Both my Grandfathers helped teach me that.
My mother’s father’s name was Jack Benson. He was one of my many real-life heroes even though I hardly knew him. It wasn’t so much that he did or didn’t tell me what’s right or wrong, but more like I grew grateful to have what I have from the stories I was told. He was a hero to me because I learned to see the rewards for his suffering.
From what I know, he was seventeen when he lied about his age to serve his country. He became a tank driver for the British army, he served on beach Sword during D-Day, and he was discharged on medical leave when the barrel of his tank rotated and hit him in the head leaving him deaf in his right ear for the rest of his life.
When my grandfather passed away a couple years ago I began to understand what Remembrance meant. It helped me cope with his death. I went to all the marches growing up, I wore my poppy, but I didn’t get it until I thought about death and what could or will kill us all.
Remembrance, ultimately, is for the future, not the past. Remembrance is to learn from the past in order to create a better future. Remembrance is learning that the most valuable lessons in life already happened, we just need to look for them.
The world is becoming the way it was back then, full of crazy ideas on mass-warfare and hate. We are all guilty of hate. What’s worse is that we are taught to hate. Hate and violence are justified in our culture and our media, we let idols tell us how to feel and let our emotions guide our actions. We have this me-vs-you mentality and we forget that people gave their lives for us to be able to think freely, and we let ourselves fall.
This isn’t some American solo piece either because this is a global problem. Duterte (Philippines) has radical claims, as does Turkey’s leader. Russia, America, even Canada’s House of Commons has the stupidest of issues and I know because I watch it all. We choose change without really knowing what the change is. It sucks, it does, but this is all done by us.
We as a people have let this happen because we aren’t nurturing our species, we divide ourselves into countries, and in countries, we divide into social classes and sub-sects, and in our social classes there is conflict, it happens all over the world. Unequal education, healthcare, food, water, and shelter. Our species is selective with whom receives the quality of life and because of this, we are constantly fighting each other. Our current time is the most distant from the great war but we’re on the brink of another. If we can just get ourselves motivated enough to make time for our vanity save the world projects and think critically about our problems we can be the ones to undo this mess.
This Remembrance day we should look into our lives and find things that we are thankful for. We should work on our projects, our relationships, our homes, and our communities because working together and realizing the value in the crazy messed up world we live in might be one of the best ways to appreciate it.
We should sit in silence at the eleventh hour and despite the current standings of the world, we should just try to be grateful for what we have because even though everything seems like it’s on the brink of destruction, there has never been a brighter time in history than right now.
To conclude, I’ll leave you with some words from my grandfather on my dad’s side.
“It is a fool who learns from his own mistakes, but it is a wise man that learns from the mistakes of others.”