I was driving along in the car with my dad, listening to the news on the radio, when the sign in front of the Legion building usually considered the Polish Legion, caught my eye:
“Lest We Forget”
Like most Canadians, I’ve seen or heard this phrase over a hundred times, especially at this time of year. It’s the phrase that goes along with the bright red poppies that will be adorning people’s coats in the next few days as we approach Remembrance Day.
Formerly Armistice Day, the date marks the official end of the First Word War when the armistice was signed on November 11 at 11 am. Since then it has come to be a memorial to all the wars fought since then and a remembrance of all the blood that was spilled in armed conflict. It is a remembrance of all the victims of the wars, of the suffering, and of the terrible price that was paid in human life. Over the years, as veterans of the First World War died off, it became more of a remembrance of the Second World War, and with it, the Holocaust.
Lest we forget.
For all that I’ve seen the words countless times, on this particular occasion, they hit me pretty hard.
The news for the last few years has been like one punch to the stomach after another. It practically reads like an American parody of Nazi Germany: children stolen from their parents, people locked up in unsuitable conditions, increasing harassment and vigilance of the other, the attempt at erasing trans people from the law and from public record, targeted acts of violence and hate, every day seems to bring with it a new horror, a new tragedy.
Just this past week, the deadliest attack against Jewish people on American soil took place. The next day or so, another white supremacist tried to shoot up a black church and when he couldn’t instead shot at black people entering a store.
People readily identifying as and with Nazis, while people claiming to be left-wing or reasonable, defend their right to do so without fear of punishment.
Every day there is one message that comes through loud and clear…
We have forgotten.