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On the bus heading home from University last week I overheard two students sitting behind me discussing all the pros and cons of the upcoming Remembrance Day on Friday, with one of them concluding that she would not be buying a poppy or getting involved with anything to do with “all this remembering stuff”. This little conversation really got me thinking and I’d like to just make a small observation about what this Friday means to each individual and how you don’t have to get involved to still be respectful.
As the majority of people know November 11th is a day set out every year to remember those men and women who gave their lives for this country during the war – chosen because it was the day when the First World War Armistice was signed. However, as I heard in the conversation on the bus home, anti-military attitudes seem to be on the rise, and if I’m honest I’m not exactly their greatest supporter! In spite of this I still feel it is right to allow those who have had loved ones lost in conflict to celebrate their lives and remember the ultimate sacrifice they made upon their countries orders – which I think is a pretty fair thing to say. Yet I don’t think it should be an opportunity of remembrance missed by those who aren’t involved with the military.
Now, looking to those who don’t really want to get involved in this military orientated day, I urge you instead to remember anyone you may have lost in the past. As I’ve grown up, I’ve started to see this day as less of a day where only one specific group people can be remembered and I think that with our hectic day to day lives we often forget to stop, think and just relive memories of great people and places. And this is exactly what Remembrance Day can offer. I know a few of you will be reading this thinking “So you want us to sit around on Friday in a depressed slump, dwelling on the past?!” and obviously that’s perfectly fine if that floats your boat, but just take some time out and remember people and places that aren’t in your life anymore.
Often it just takes us to look to the past to be inspired to do something new and move forward with our lives in the present. Personally I know that without the people who have come and gone from my life, some staying longer than others, I wouldn’t be who I am today so I think it’s good and right to take some time out to have a laugh, a smile, even a cry over them because they’re worth it and we should be grateful to them for being there for us.
So do it! You don’t have to get all emotional and sentimental unless you really want to, it could just be taking a few minutes on the bus to uni to think, looking at old photographs or chatting with mates about the past – I’m sure you’ll dig up something worth talking about! And if you do want to get involved with the traditions of Remembrance Day, Poppies are on sale by donation now and there is a small event taking place on campus in Alex Square on Friday from around 10.40am so go check it out. Remember them – they were a part of your life after all!