Lest We Forget

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Submitted by Don Graham

When we heard the words “lest we forget” years ago it really meant “we’re not going to forget”. How could we? There were reminders of the wars everywhere, veterans, freedoms we gained and kept because of our brave defenders and peace, glorious, hard earned peace. But honestly times have changed. For this generation born in the 90’s there hasn’t really been world peace. From the Gulf War of the 90’s, 9/11 and the continuing terrorist threats, it’s a volatile world we live in. With the passage of time there are fewer veterans still living to remind us of the past and fewer stories being told of the brave men and women who gave their lives for us.

War is a terrible thing. It is an organized conflict that is carried out by different countries against each other as a way of resolving differences.  It is usually characterized by extreme violence, and economic destruction and multiple deaths. The way it is carried out is called warfare. An absence of war is usually called peace. War has been waged from the beginning of time and continues to this day, and every year on November the 11th, we here in Canada honour the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the rights and liberties of their homeland and its people. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 o’clock a moment of silence, often two minutes is observed across the country and a well-deserved respect is paid to armed forces past and present, dead, alive and wounded.

Remembrance DayPhoto Credit Chris HolleyRemembrance Day
Photo Credit Chris Holley
Today we will attempt to put into words the effect war has had on music and music on war. Music is a powerful medium and the power of the songs on the psyche of the world cannot be denied.

John Lennon appealed to the powers that be and the public by making a simple statement “Give Peace a Chance”. As he said ‘all we are saying, is give peace a chance.  Dino Valenti wrote about the power of love versus hate with “Get Together” (performed by The Youngbloods) a 1960’s anthem extolling the virtues of peace and love over war and hatred.  Bobby Darin wrote “ it’s true that there are those who love to battle, like presidents, prime ministers and kings. So let’s all build them shelves, so they can fight among themselves and leave the people be who love to sing”. Indeed to sing “A Simple Song of Freedom”. And from the same era, Ed McCurdy told the story of a dream he had. He “dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war”, as he sang in “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream.”

It is so important that as Canadians we continue to honour the tradition of Remembrance Day on November 11th and never forget the sacrifices that were made on our behalf.  We may not be able to stop wars from happening but we can learn from the past and try our best to show our respect for the brave and unselfish veterans of past wars and the defenders of our freedom who are active today.

The answer may well be “blowing in the wind”, but in the meantime on November 11th let’s “bow our heads and say a prayer for the good ones that are gone.”
In the words of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae:
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lest We Forget.