There is a time to remember, to look back, to give thanks, to mourn. Some moments come back with vibrant clarity while others with a lingering wistfulness, and still others with a melancholy loneliness. Memories give meaning to our lives. It is our way of saying that we have passed this way and we will remember. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. We grieve at funerals and lament the possibilities of what might have been.
Remembering is both an act of courage and hope. It is embracing all that life has to offer, whether it be joy or pain, laughter or tears. When we remember, our creative spirit allows us to experience the full measure of our emotional responses. We hear a strain of music, read the line of poetry, recognize an idea in a painting. We listen to the stories. This is the best of what art offers.
Today, as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Canada observed Remembrance Day, “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.” Streets were filled with people wearing brilliant red poppies, reminiscent of the poppies that bloomed across Flanders, during WWI. As a nation, we remember the sacrifice of brave men and women who served. We remember the families who suffered the loss of loved ones. We remember that peace is a gift that demands our highest commitment.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”
Laurence Binyon, For the Fallen
Written on the Cliffs, North Cornwall UK