We Must Never Forget

We Must Never Forget

Every year on November 11 at 11:00 a.m. (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month), Canadians pause in a silent two minutes of remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve, our country, during times of war, conflict and peace. We honour those who fought for Canada in the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as those who have served since then in places like Cyprus, Serbia, Haiti, Darfur, Kosovo, Rwanda, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and many, many more. (For a complete list of Canadian military operations, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadian_military_operations).

More than 2.3 million Canadians have served our country in this way, and more than 118,000 have died. They gave their lives and their futures so that we may live in peace.

Writer Heather Robertson wrote, “We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument.” (Heather Robertson, A Terrible Beauty, The Art of Canada at War. Toronto, Lorimer, 1977.)

Poppies are worn as the symbol of remembrance. During the terrible bloodshed of the second Battle of Ypres in the spring of 1915, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, wrote of these flowers which lived on among the graves of dead soldiers:

A great many Latter-Day Saints have participated in these conflicts, and, while some were miraculously protected, the lives of many were not spared. In the Second World War alone over 100,000 Saints served in the military of many nations on both sides of the war. This represented about one out of every ten Church members worldwide.

The Saints had to examine their feelings about war, and were guided by the Book of Mormon’s teachings which denounced offensive war but condoned fighting “even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary” in defense of home, country, freedom, or religion (Alma 48:14; see also 43:45–47).

Echoing the counsel given by President Joseph F. Smith, at the outbreak of World War I, the Presidency exhorted members in the armed forces to keep “all cruelty, hate, and murder” out of their hearts even during battle. (In J. Reuben. Clark, comp. Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75), 6:141.)