Remembrance Day is a day marked with patriotic pomp and military decoration. Ceremonial artillery blasts echoed through Parliament Hill in Ottawa this morning. Squadrons of soldiers stood at attention, rifles slung over their shoulders. Small children held national flags in a crowd of over 100,000, all gathered in front of the war memorial to hear the playing of the last post and observe a moment of silence in honor of soldiers that have fallen in the combat of war.
It can be difficult among the ceremony and parades to keep our focus on the purpose behind Remembrance Day. Namely, that we do not remember in order to glorify war, but to mourn it. And in our mourning, we look forward hopefully to a time when there will be no war, where the Prince of Peace will rule:
"He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore." Isaiah 2:4
While we honor Remembrance Day and the sacrifice of those killed in the name of freedom and peace, we do so alongside dozens of other nations worldwide, including countries that Canada has been at war with in the past. We do so with a sense of global unity, a hope for peace worldwide, a desire for a time when artillery blasts and long rifles and national flags will be things of the past.
It's a that future time that Pete Seeger longs for in the old traditional tune, "Down By The Riverside".