Forgetting to remember.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today was Remembrance Day and I'm a bit appalled and embarrassed at the way I didn't do anything - absolutely nothing - to recognize it. My 'remembering' was limited to a few moments of quiet as I was brushing my teeth this morning, when The Bounce took a break from playing Rihanna and Usher to play some bugle music and then have a moment of silence.

I didn't even get a poppy this year. I kept meaning to pick one up, but I didn't have any change on me, or I wasn't wearing my regular coat, or whatever the excuse du jour happened to be.

My grandfather fought in the second world war, and came from a long line of military people, so honouring Remembrance Day was a tradition in our family. As kids, every November 11 we'd all bundle up and head to the cenotaph, with our poppies pinned on our winter coats and stuck firmly in place with hunks of eraser, to listen to the roll call and the reading of In Flanders Fields.

I remember standing there freezing my ass off (it was always sooooo cold on Remembrance Day) and thinking about everything but the sacrifices men and women had made for our freedoms - I would be thinking about the hot chocolate I was going to get once this was over, or about the movie I'd watched the night before, or how stupid that kid's pom-pom hat looked. And then I'd scold myself and think about wars for a few minutes...until I got distracted by the pom-pom hat again.

Today I woke up and barely even thought about why I had a day off work in the middle of the week. I hung out with some friends, went for a walk with Peter, went out for coffee, and barely even gave a moment's thought to why I'm able to walk around, drive a car, pay for coffee, do any of these things freely in the first place. And now I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I forgot to remember, and I feel guilty that when I remembered to remember (OMG, how poorly constructed can one sentence be?) I couldn't be bothered to put on a poppy or spend twenty minutes freezing at the cenotaph.

I can only be thankful that my grandfather and thousands of others didn't display the same apathy and indifference 70 years ago.

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  1. Well, I think you made up for it with that beautiful post.

    You did make me feel guilty (I should) for not buying the poppy from the veteran outside of Stop & Shop the other day... I always do, but didn't this year. I feel really bad now. =(

  2. Thanks Jenilee! This was the first year I didn't even get a poppy (usually I buy and lose a few). I just feel lazy and crappy now.