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 the Canada and the world is demonstrated by then 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

Cowichan Valley WildSafeBC coordinator Amanda Crowston teaches a Grade 5/6 class at Ecole Cobble Hill last fall. (Submitted)
The bears are back in town and so is WildSafeBC

The bears are back in town so keep an eye out, reminds… Continue reading

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

North Cowichan has heated exchange over timelines of its official community plan review. (File photo)
North Cowichan’s OCP review divides council

Tight timelines leads to heated debate

Matt Ellison was a star with the Kerry Park Islanders before embarking on a pro career that included stops in the NHL and KHL. (Submitted)
Ex-NHLers to highlight Kerry Park-Peninsula alumni games

Matt Ellison and Kyle Greentree commit to suit up in August

Aaron Stone, chairman of the Island Coastal Economic Trust, said he’s encouraged with the province providing finding for local agencies to hire staff to help get back on economic track during the pandemic. (File photo)
$70K for Economic Development Cowichan for new analyst

Temporary position to help recover from pandemic

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

Most Read