Remembrance Day has turned into something that I don't like, and I can't wear a symbol that's representative of a government that has fought neocolonial wars that I simply don't agree with. If the government is so adamant that we respect veterans, they could, perhaps, respect veterans by giving them greater access to mental health resources for when they come back home riddled with PTSD. Our government has its citizens to go fight in pointless wars, then makes up for it by throwing big displays of poppies and hundreds of renditions of Flanders Field.
Taking this time to reflect on the dedication of our armed forces is not the same as blindly supporting war. Remembrance Day is really about being present to the experiences of those who sacrificed their mental and emotional well-being in the name of our country. It's about expressing gratitude to those who gave up their dreams so that the rest of us can pursue ours. After all, while the poppy historically symbolizes the blood of fallen soldiers, it also represents a flower that was able to grow in land too infertile for much else; transforming from a mere community of poppy seeds while simultaneously converting the land into fertile and beautiful possibility.
When I began to research Private John Bernard Croak I realized just how remarkable a man he was. Aside from the one award-winning day, all other aspects of this man's service record indicate a very poor soldier with a very serious drinking problem and issues obeying commands. That is why I want to tell you about him.
For a soldier, the battle does not end once you leave the warzone. I will be fighting the effects of my injuries from "the incident" for the rest of my life, and that is why I am writing this piece. Over the past seven years I have been fighting another battle, one for a pension that befits the injury and the effects that the terrible day in Afghanistan left me with. I have sought the help of my MP, doctors, the media, the military ombudsmen, and Veterans Affairs, but they have all left me no further ahead than when I started, and with the startling conclusion that 5% of a soldier's brain is worth a mere $22,000.
Somewhere along the line, November 11 passed from being a spectacle of unanimous civic deference to yet one more boring "controversy" of modern life, bound up in all sorts of political pet causes and righteous quests for moral superiority. Take the matter of exactly what and how we should be remembering. This is something the editorial pages have no shortage of fun opinions about.