You and I are very lucky. We are very lucky and we do not know why we are so lucky. You and I are members of a time when our countries, Japan and Canada, are not in a war. Maybe you think that it is very natural for us to not be in a war with another country, and maybe I think the same. But you and I are in a very unusual time in history.
You see, my family is from Europe and your family is Japanese. In Europe and Japan there were many wars in the past. And these wars went for many, many years. In Europe the Russians were fighting. The Germans were fighting. The British were fighting. Everyone seemed to be fighting all the time. My family history is from Holland and the country of my parents had many, many wars with England, and then with Germany too. This continued for hundreds and hundreds of years. It seemed that war would never end. It seemed that there was no life without war.
But at the end of World War 1, the nations of Europe decided that on November 11, 1919 we would have a special day called “Remembrance Day”. On Remembrance Day we remember. We remember that war killed so many young men. We remember that war is the death of our countries, our communities, our families, and everything we love. We remember the people who fought and worked for a world to be free. We remember that war is no solution. We remember that making peace is our continual and endless work, because we must never have war again.
We live in a delicate time. There are people in America, in North Korea, in Syria, in Israel, in Iran and Afghanistan who would like to have another war. They would like our world to have us fight, and to send young men and women to battle. They would like to see a war because they do not have a value for peace, and they see a personal benefit in violence.
But you and I must not go war. We must not give permission to our countries to join a war ever again. Our countries have systems of democracy and freedom. So we must use our minds and our power to keep peace. We must always talk with the people from other countries and to make human connections with everyone we can around the world.
There are a few leaders in the world who are not very good leaders. They do not care about people, and they do not care about life in other countries. We know that they are dangerous people to global peace. We know that we must not forget the past wars. We know that we must work together always for peace, for understanding, for hope, and for a better future.
There are some leaders in our world who use history as a weapon against us. They say that my country, or your country did something bad in the past. Maybe that is true. Maybe it is not true. But that is not the most important thing. The most important thing and the most important time is today and tomorrow. We will not be pushed or pulled into an international fight. We will not lose our mission of keeping peace and keeping good communication with each other.
Remembrance Day is about remembering the past. We remember the soldiers who died in war. We remember their terrible experiences. But it is also to remember who we are. It is to remember that peace is our only way to live. It is to remember that we are strong together and it is to remember that we will never go to war again.