My life is connected to war. In a way, everyone’s life is probably in some way connected to war or conflict. Unfortunately, that’s part of being human.
My grandfather was a Dutch soldier who was stationed in Maastricht around the time the Nazi’s invaded the Netherlands. He was called back to his farm in Achterveld as his wife had given birth to their first son. The next day, his entire unit was wiped out. Had my Uncle not been born three weeks early, I would not be here today. My grandfather survived the rest of the war, occasionally housing and providing food to both Allied and Nazi forces. One particular soldier from Ontario made an impression on him during the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian forces. They kept in touch and nearly a decade after the war, he moved his family to Canada, to the same town that soldier hailed from.
I’ve had family serve in both World Wars, my great grandfather on my Mother’s side survived two miserable years of Trench warfare on the Western front in France. He returned to Canada, established an apple orchard and began a family. He prayed his efforts and the efforts of soldiers would put an end to war. His prayers were in vain. He survived the first World War only to have his son’s bones embed themselves in the rocks and sand of Dieppe over two decades later. My great grandfather drank himself to death.
One of the men who informed my life more than anything served in the British Navy in the Second World War. He was my neighbour and despite being 60 years my senior he was likely the person I was closest to in the world at that time. He survived despite having half of one ear blown off during a skirmish. If that bullet was an inch or two to the left, I never would have met him. His sister was killed in the London Underground during the bombing of London. He told me stories of the war all the time, of the comraderie, friendships made and lost in days, and the ultimate horror of combat. When he died, he gave me a box filled with memorabilia from the war. I went on to study history as a result of him and the stories he had told me.
He told me, Rememberance Day is bullshit.
Your life and the World you live in is a result of these people. You shouldn’t need a day to remember, an annual day to commemorate millions of deaths and immeasurable sacrifice by wearing a poppy and expending a few fucks for good measure. Your existence is a result of their sacrifice. Know that.
How is this even a thing? Columbus thought he found India and his ‘discovery’ of the Americas disregards the people who had been living here for centuries before. If anything, the Holiday represents the genocide and marginalization of millions of Indigenous Americans and the systematic destruction of one of the World’s most beautiful landscapes in the name of Civilization. An Anishinaabe friend of mine told me that Columbus Day is one of mourning for her people. That sounds about right.