Remembrance Day
A rambling by Paul de Bruijn,
11 November 1999

November 11. Remembrance Day.

Today is a day to remember, to remember what was and what will hopefully never be again. Today is a day to be silent for a moment in honour of those who died. To remember why they died, to remember what they fought against. And to remember that not all who died wanted to fight, or were even given a chance to fight.

And today we will be faced by the grim reality that those who were alive then are few, and growing fewer every year. That the stories they have passed on will soon be all we have, and that they are not enough. That we do not have the memories of walking into a concentration camp. Or fighting in a trench. Or having to hide when the air sirens go off. And while I know there are those who are "young" or of my generation and younger who know these things, that should not be.

We must remember. We need to find a way that is meaningful to us who do not know what was, to remember what was. Not because of the risk of history repeating itself, but because to forget would be tragic. And because we have an obligation to the dead to remember them. To remember them as they were, as men, women and children, young and old alike. To remember that not all who died in the World Wars were soldiers. That not all who died fought, and that not all who fought hated.

We must remember, so that future generations will remember. We must remember, for the day is coming when the last veteran, the last survivor will die. We must remember for when that day comes, we will become their voice, speakers for the dead. And their voice must not be lost.

So in our silence let us remember, lest we forget.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]