On Friday, we attended the Remembrance Day assembly at Q’s school. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it was beautifully done and executed with huge amounts of respect and reverence. There was a piper, poems and readings by some of the kids, and a beautiful slideshow which I will admit to bawling through. There was no clapping, because, we were told by the student emcees, the performances were not about them, but about paying their respects. The children were all so well behaved, but sadly I cannot say the same about the parents. I’m not quite sure when we became so disconnected from real life, but this assembly showed me that to some people, it is just another day off.
I was surprised to see parents texting and playing games on their phones during the assembly, but when the when the woman beside us whipped out her phone and started texting during the slideshow and moment of silence, I won’t lie, I wanted to either deck her or chuck her phone. The lack of respect displayed by parents and kids attending as guests left me shaking my head in sadness and disbelief. What makes you so important that you can’t turn your phone off for an hour to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf? If it really that hard to show respect and honor to people who have given up more than most people could ever even imagine? I get that people feel that it is their “right” to do whatever, whenever they want, but honestly, where do they think those “rights” came from in the first place?
How do we expect to raise children who know and understand what the word sacrifice even means if their parents can’t even put down the game of Candy Crush or pause their text messaging for an hour, for 60 whole minutes? No one forced them to be there at the assembly. How is it that a group of 60 5 and 6 year olds, just to count the Kindergarten kids, can sit nicely and show an appropriate amount of respect when their parents can’t? Why bother attending if you have no interest in the subject matter?
As I watched the video of the old veterans talk of their experiences at war, hearing about how they watched their friends die, about how hard it was to even talk about because it felt like being there all over again, I thought about those men being little boys once, sitting in a school gym somewhere many years ago, just as my little boy was that day. I thought about how my mom told me that watching me leave for the Army was one of the hardest things she had done, but that she let me go anyways because I felt that this was something I needed to do, and how at least she knew that I wasn’t going to war and that I would be coming back. I thought of the moms who watched their sons and daughters walk away and not come back. I thought of all the people I know who have gone to serve overseas and come back different, damaged, broken in some little or big way. I thought about the death, the devastation, the horror. I thought about all of the ones who have gone overseas to fight for something that they believed in, the ones who didn’t come back and the ones who did. I thought of the sacrifices that have been made, in personal lives, in health, in spirit.
You know what I did not think of? The tweets that I might be missing, the Facebook account I could be updating, the people I could be texting, the games I could be playing.
It angers me when people say that they are “anti-war” and don’t support the soldiers because they don’t agree with war. Say and think what you may, but soldiers are just people who are doing a job, one with a potential price tag that is much higher than most people would be willing to pay. They are people who go to places you and I can’t even imagine, trying to make the world a better place. I understand not being a fan of war, I mean honestly, who is? But to disrespect the people? No. I’m sorry. Hate the policies, hate the fight, but support the people. Understand the sacrifices, the pain, the joy. Show your respect. If you can only bring yourself to do it once, then do that, but do it. Appreciate that someone gave their life so that you can have that phone, and show it. Treat this day with the respect that it deserves. Be a example.