There is a downside to the popularisation of Remembrance Day, and it is the way it completely neglects the reason why we must remember the dead in the first place.
Armistice Day is not a contest of who shall wear the most poppies, or who shall comment “lest we forget” the most on social media, or even how many WWI photos you can view in a hour. It’s not simply about reminding yourself once a year that millions of men died more than a hundred years ago.
It’s about remembering that peace is NEVER granted.
The lessons learned in the last century matter because at every moment, every minute, every second, right as I write, conflicts over the world still kill thousands of innocents and political leaders will start new ones every time they get the chance.
While we should remember their faces, the dead of WWI are what they are: dead. And we must remember why; because if you promote violence, if you promote rejection, if you promote xenophobia, if you promote hatred, you are yourself stepping a little closer to seeing War ring the bell of your doorstep in much the same way it did in 1914.
The dead of WWI are no longer here. They will not rise or talk to us ever again. But what killed them in the first place still exists and will always exist.
You must strive to promote peace not just on the 11th of November, but every day of your life. Because, since hatred is always an easier instinct than compassion, anyone who does not oppose escalation in violence is condemning, a little bit more everyday, young people to forced conscription, civilians to mindless bombings, humans to human cruelty.