A Pacifist Remembers

Today, November 11 is a day we remember.
We say thank you.
We are grateful for the freedoms we know in our country.

I grew up Mennonite.  Pacifist.

But we always acknowledged this day with much gratefulness.  As a young girl, I remember gathering as joint churches in our community, taking time to remember the soldiers who served, the freedoms we didn’t take for granted.

I don’t have relatives who served in the war.  Although I will acknowledge my former brother-in-law who served with the army in peace time.

I had a wonderful uncle I remember well, a great story teller and an adventurer at heart.  We all loved him.  The story I remember was that he actually went to prison because he would not enlist.

Mennonites don’t carry arms.  They rather are known for a history of peacekeeping and disaster relief work.  And many of them refused to go to war, others served as medics.

So, confession, I hate guns. I dislike how we glorify war at times.  My grandsons won’t receive toys of weaponry from me.  I might not be able to influence them, but they can listen to my stories.  They can learn about their Mennonite roots and what being a pacifist means.

I do recognize that there have been times where war was necessary to combat evil, to stop annihilation and terror to people groups.  But I’ve often wondered, how can we be agents of peace, justice and mercy without picking up arms.

Whether we are pacifists or not, we can all promote peace.  We can love our neighbours.  We can care for the poor, seek justice for the oppressed.  We can open our hearts to refugees and hear their stories.

So we remember.  I pray we can learn from our history.  And in challenging times, we do give thanks for all who have given their lives, risked their lives and served our country.

Lest we forget

Lest we Forget

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