Lest we remember.
Lest we remember the veterans left disabled, impoverished, and denied supports. Lest we remember the internalized violence of the military, the brutality, the "friendly fire." Lest we remember the countless women soldiers sexually violated and shunned by the military.
Lest we remember the military families turning to food banks and charities for support.
Lest we remember the facts about past wars, rather than opportunistic jingoism.
Lest we remember that our "government" would rather spend millions advertising lies about past wars than spend a dollar to avoid having a soldier, or their family, fall into poverty.
Lest we remember the politicians who care so little about what happens to people in the military and veterans that they doze off in meetings with them.
Lest we remember that they spend our money to send our children, our siblings, our parents, our friends, our neighbours, to kill and be killed, to maim and be maimed, to destroy and be destroyed.
Lest we remember the military's contributions to the long history of genocide and injustice against Indigenous people of this land.
Lest we remember the contributions of anyone not white enough, or male enough, or "straight" enough, or Christian enough, in our reworking of history.
Lest we remember that Eisenhower's warnings about the rise of the military-industrial complex came true.
Lest we remember that ever more and more of our resources, energy and wealth, are being siphoned away into the military and the corporations that profit from it, while poverty, disparity and injustice grow.
Lest we remember that, for all the posturing about protecting rights and freedom around the world, our military has ignored many who truly needed it, while attacking those who didn't.
Lest we remember that our military turned a blind eye, and a deaf ear, to the people of Rwanda.
Lest we remember that war destroys not just human lives, but all other creatures and plants, and the very Earth.
Lest we remember that there is nothing good, or patriotic, or just, about killing and destruction.
Lest we remember that war is not glorious, or honourable, or just.
Lest we remember that war is vicious, destructive and the death of our "humanity."
Lest we remember that no one has "freedom" while we continue to spread the injustice of war.
Lest we remember, we forget.
Grant Neufeld is a community activist based in Calgary.