I was just (seasonally appropriately) thinking about remembering; about remembering the dead. And more specifically about how remembering keeps the dead alive. You're going to be disappointed if you are looking for conclusions and not just wisps of thought streams. I guess one the things I was just sort of connecting in my head was the difference or the similarities in remembering the fallen from conflict and remembering loved ones that have passed away (or in some cases these are the same).
I've buried a few friends in my time. One of them was in high school. I've written about him before. His name was Aaron Van Vark. He died when we were in grade 11. I haven't forgotten him, he influenced my life. And I feel that in a small way that because I remember him, that I am helping to keep him alive (but not in an unhealthy way). A year ago this past weekend my friend Crystal Williams was killed. We grew up together, I remember her. I feel like she should still be alive.
This was veterans week and climaxed with Remembrance Day. I was honoured to sing O Canada and God Save the Queen at the WRF - Leadership Lessons From Vimy Ridge on Friday night. To hear a bit about war and conflict past and present always hits me. And sometimes I feel that every time it chokes me up a bit, or that I remember that I can parade around the world with a Canadian Flag sewn on me and be welcomed, well that I am remembering all of these people that I have never met and never will meet, and the gifts they have given to me.
I struggle with knowing if the gifts of my beloved friends are different, worth more, worth less, worth the same, comparable at all, etc with the gifts of these soldiers and military personnel. Regardless, these gifts cherished, valued and treasured.