It is extremely disappointing to me as a proud Mount Allison student that more of our student body chooses to play war and wear orange armbands, than the number of students who choose to honour those affected by the realities of war and wear a poppy. This is clearly the sign of a population disconnected from the sacrifices made by their ancestors, as well as the sacrifices men and women continue to make in the service of their country every day. If this is a product of a belief that wearing a poppy somehow glorifies or promotes warfare, I urge you to visit the Royal Canadian Legion website and read about the poppy campaign. To wear a poppy is to acknowledge and reflect on the tragedy of war—the maiming and loss of life by civilians and service people alike. It honours those who have volunteered to make personal sacrifices on behalf of their nation. Some funds raised during the poppy campaign go toward educating youth in hopes it will deter future wars. Much of the money raised goes to assist veterans, many who continue to struggle with the mental and physical scars left from their experiences. Make no mistake that every veteran has been scarred in some manner.
That sacrifice is why the notion of young adults playing war leading up to and including part of Veterans’ Week is so disappointing to me. War is not to be trivialized, particularly at this time of year. Don’t get me wrong—I believe that an escape from reality is a necessity of university life. But I also believe it is up to each generation to keep the act of remembrance alive, particularly as we lose more and more Second World War veterans and are faced with helping those returning from Afghanistan (or any of the other thirteen current operations Canada is conducting abroad). While I realize that there is no disrespect intended, I would urge the organizers of next year’s Humans vs. Zombies event to consider changing the dates of the game so that it ends on Halloween.
Even more so, I urge every student to wear a poppy. Enjoy the extra days of studying due to the Nov. 11 weekend, but please make your way to a cenotaph or the university Remembrance Day ceremony on Monday to pause, reflect, and pay homage. Speak with and perhaps thank a veteran. It brightens their day, and it will brighten yours too. On Nov. 11, please refrain from playing war.