I opted not to go to the Remembrance Day service today. Instead, as is my custom, I'll have a small private memorial wherever I am at 1100.
I remember that "supporting the troops" includes valuing and honouring them enough not to order them into battle save for the gravest of circumstances. War is a last resort to address an extraordinary problem when all other means are exhausted, and we do ourselves, our soldiers, and the rest of the world the gravest wrong should we think it otherwise.
I remember that "supporting the troops" includes doing everything in our power to help them and their families when they're injured or killed while serving. Just as sure as we put them into harm's way, we're responsible for what happens to them when we do.
I remember that "supporting the troops" includes making our military a supportive place for them to serve. Threats from without are enough to worry about without having to worry about threats from within.
I remember that the soldiers of old embarked on what they considered a noble enterprise, and were thrust into unimaginable hardship and suffering as a result. I honour their memory and their sacrifice by upholding the freedoms they fought for.
I remember that war is a consequence of us failing at the central tenet of basic humanity; at treating other people as fellow human beings; of recognizing our commonalities and reaching out to one another as equals and friends.
And finally I remember that Never Again is not just a catchphrase, but a call to action.
...and all that means so much more to me than a bunch of longwinded speeches by blowhard politicians who've never been there and likely never will.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.