Editorial: Remembering our past conflicts vital to future

Editorial: Remembering our past conflicts vital to future

Armistice took effect at 11 a.m. — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

November 11 was chosen for Remembrance Day as it marks the signing of the armistice that ended the First World War in 1918.

Armistice took effect at 11 a.m. — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This is the hour still at which we observe a minute of silence, now to honour the dead in both the First and Second World Wars, as well as other conflicts and peacekeeping missions in which Canada has lost military personnel. The heart of this remembrance remains our community cenotaphs. In the Cowichan Valley the sheer scale of the toll taken on Canada and the world is demonstrated by the numerous monuments — one in virtually every community. Lake Cowichan has one. So does Duncan, Chemainus, and Cobble Hill.

The names inscribed on these monuments remember those who never made it home. But that’s not the entire list of war victims. For every name on the cenotaph there are many more who came home permanently wounded, both mentally and physically, by a conflict they could never have imagined as they dreamed their dreams of battlefield glory as they lined up to sign up. There are also those who remained at home, waiting in vain for loved ones to return. Their lives were also irrevocably changed by these wars.

While we have lost more soldiers in combat since then, nothing in our history has come close to the slaughter of these conflicts. And that is ultimately one of the most important functions of Remembrance Day. Using the memory of those terrible conflicts to make sure that they never happen again.

Indeed, the reality is that with the technologies now available to us, if there was ever to be another world war it would mean the end of the world. Nuclear weapons deployed by those nations that possess them would catastrophically destroy our planet, leaving it uninhabitable. In a world war, it is inevitable that they would be used. And those are just the most extreme of the weapons we now possess. Even without going nuclear, we are more than capable of destroying our world with the other weapons in our arsenals. Just ask any refugee from a war-torn country. The regional conflicts in progress are bad enough, but on a global scale, the death toll would quickly become unthinkable.

There are some things in this world worth fighting for. Sadly, these are often not the things we actually do end up fighting over.

So, on this Nov. 11, whether you’re at a Remembrance Day service or not, take a minute in silence to be thankful, to mourn, and to resolve: never again.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in fatal Chemainus hit-and-run

Investigation expected to be lengthy and involved

The Cowichan Women Against Violence Society is planning on opening a child and youth advocacy centre. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Child and youth advocacy centre eyed for Cowichan

Cowichan Women Against Violence Society hopes to open centre later this year

CVRD to apply for a grant to improve a 4.85-kilometre section of the Cowichan Valley Trail near Shawnigan Lake. (File photo)
CVRD looks to improve section of Cowichan Valley Trail

District applies for $250,000 grant to widen, upgrade 4.8-kilometre section in Shawnigan Lake

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read