On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, during the 11th month, we gather to remember the sacrifices of those who once served and continue to serve their country.
Those who lost their lives in service to their country, or in service to their fellow human beings, have justifiably earned an exalted status on such days. No less celebrated are those who escaped with their lives, yet sacrificed their minds, their youth, or their bodies to a cause greater than themselves.
Those fortunate enough to return from combat or service understandably feel an unshakable obligation to their fallen comrades to keep their memories alive.
Those outside the military ranks also remember. We remember because we must. We cannot allow their sacrifices to fade from memory and we have to remember the atrocities of war so we can educate younger generations.
We must remember history so that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. The world cannot survive another global conflict. Technology has advanced, weapons are more are deadlier, and the potential for destruction and death on a massive scale is greater than ever before.
This mutually assured destruction arguably kept the world from annihilation during the Cold War, and helped maintain some global stability, but that is a tenuous peace.
While China is repeatedly blamed for starting the global pandemic, the country’s expansionism in the South China Sea, as well as in Hong Kong, and Singapore, North Korea’s continued efforts to develop atomic weapons, mixed with the unpredictability of Russia’s dictatorship, and the uneasy political environment south of the border; are the fraying seems that can end this uneasy peace.
Because of these and other forces, and after two years of a global pandemic, the possibility of war is as real now as it has been in decades.
COVID-19 hit the global economy hard, it radically changed many aspects of society, and it fostered irreversible problems, some of which are unknown and unfelt today, even if they promise to reverberate for many years to come. The instability caused by the pandemic has unleashed many of the dark forces in people which have the potential to bubble over into a toxic stew of violence, crime, poverty, and eventually the kind of desperation that can ignite large scale conflicts.
There is hope. Billions of people have received their second vaccination, and that number grows even in less developed parts of the world.
This same world seems to be reopening, cautiously and gradually, with more movement taking place between countries, more large scale events being held, and more projects that were frozen two years ago now unthawed.
Some people are getting back to work, others moving between jobs, infrastructure is under construction or repair, and things are looking up economically.
It seems things are heading in the right direction, but human nature being what it is, the possibility of war is never far away, and if this grand reopening sputters, if there is more conflict, and if the problems deepen, history could repeat itself, possibly for the final time.