RemembranceIn our family, everyone knows that we had a great-granddad who was killed in the Great War. He was a pacifist, a conscientious objector, who refused to fight, and was given the role of holding the horses (which I presume means he was in the artillery).
I do not know his name, but something of him resides in me.
Every year, Australians march up and down, expressing their national pride at their soldiers. They are particularly proud at how they died in their masses at Gallipoli.
Gallipoli, in case you are unaware, was a senseless manoeuvre in a pointless grinding slaughter occasioned by imperial powers who could not, would not find a way to coexist. The Great War is comparable in many ways to the Civil War that ended the Roman republic, except that the footsoldiers in that war stood to be rewarded with money and land. My great-granddad got nothing but the King's shilling.
I do not care at all for national remembrances. They are generally more about feeling good about ourselves and what we're doing today. People tell you, we must never forget, and then you ask them, well name five people who were involved. And they've forgotten.
People should matter more. We are not nations. We are sons, fathers, daughters, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, webs of relationships that make a world that is fundamentally, always and forever, together. Love is the binding for those webs. F the haters. We don't need to ceremonialise the pain they cause. Remember to love each other, that's enough.