It’s a little disconcerting that there hasn’t been more outrage about the decision to release the latest Call of Duty video game during the same week as Remembrance Day.
Sales of the latest installment of the franchise are expected to set a record for entertainment products of any kind. And while there is a long history of films, plays and games that have turned the tension of war into a source of amusement, this week is about much more than recalling tales of heroism. Amid the ceremony and emotion of this day, our thoughts need to linger on the abhorrence of what it is we must remember.
Today is a time to address the conflicting emotions that make Remembrance Day such an important time of the year. We take pride in the men and women who ventured into killing zones because that is what they were told to do, what they believed they had to do. But that pride must also be tempered with melancholy and repugnance.
We celebrate the courage of our armed forces, from the horrific conflicts of the First World War that helped forge Canada’s early identity, to the noble efforts of those who risk everything to win the hearts and minds of modern Afghanis. In doing so, many sacrificed their lives while many more have returned to our society profoundly changed.
We are finding out more and more about the lasting effects that war has on people who experience combat.
Our understanding of post traumatic stress disorder has come a long way since the days it was simply known as shell shock. Yet, there is much more work to do. Veterans suffer exponentially more from mental illness than the rest of the population and suicide is an epidemic among soldiers returning from war.
Remembrance Day must be a time when we cherish the fragility of peace. Today, we do not pay tribute to war but to those who sacrificed so much to try and end war. We can honour their courage by taking inspiration from it and ensuring we all do what we can to resolve conflicts without violence.
Lest we forget, our veterans experienced the horrors of war so that others would never have to.