I am lucky, fortunate and privileged to have never been sent off to war.
Lucky, fortunate, privileged. These are just a few of the words that pop in and out of my mind on a fairly consistent basis. But it’s always the 11th of November, every year that those words mean the most and hold the highest of all possible importance.
I am lucky, fortunate and privileged to have never been sent off to war. To see those I love and cherish mowed down in a violent volley of bullets and shrapnel against the chaotic cacophony of ear-splitting explosions. The toughest decision I have to make on a daily basis—is what shirt I’m going to wear. Or what type of cereal I should eat for breakfast.
All jokes aside, I do have my own struggles, trials and tribations. That’s never to downplay what I’m going through or devalue my own experience. I also just don’t have to go to bed in fear every night that the world won’t be there in the morning.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love to play video games. Especially violent video games. Very violent video games. Particularly anything within the long-running stalwart mainstay first-person-shooter Call of Duty franchise. For me, the virtual violence in the game is self-justified as both a safe and healthy way to express my own personal anger and frustrations, without ever actually hurting anyone. Considering all of the games I play and films I watch, you’d be forgiven for assuming I’m some kinda total all-consuming dyed-in-the-wool gun-nut. I’m not. I am a nut, just about other things.
I’ve never once laid my dexterous digits on an actual gun. And no, paintball guns, airsoft guns, or movie prop guns don’t count. I mean a real gun. Like with real bullets. That could really kill someone. I’ve never even been to a fire range. I simply have no desire to. I’ve actually turned down the offer more times than I can count. If I go my entire life without ever touching a real gun, I honestly think I’d be okay.
The importance of the poppy is paramount. It’s a vibrant symbol and simple reminder of those that came before us and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our collective freedom, to live on after them. To the brave men and women who gave their lives, so future generations could even have one, you have my eternal gratitude. Your bravery and selflessness against such unspeakable horrors and overwhelming odds in the face of a seemingly insurmountable adversity, is nothing short of pure unadulterated selflessness.
Remembrance Day (or Veteran’s Day, if you’re in The States), is a day that will mean different things to different people. Whatever it is you find yourself doing on the 11th Day of the 11th Month, at the very least take a moment to really challenge yourself, and fill it with silence. Really just be present. You don’t necessarily have to say or do anything. Other than just be mindful of where and when you are. How lucky you are. How fortunate you are. And how privileged you are.
Without them, none of us would be here. We will remember them.