On the Saturday just gone, the town in which I live held a commemorative event related to the centenary of World War One. The schools and various other organisations assembled and took part in a parade that covered the last mile that the soldiers from our town took before they went to war. A ceremony with music and readings was then held at the town memorial.
It was wonderful to see so many people involved. I live in the kind of place where everyone turns out to see these kinds of things. And the word of the day, it seemed, was 'remember'.
I found myself having a problem with the use of this word: The majority of the people there did not remember the war, or the people in it, because they weren't alive for it. In fifty years, or perhaps fewer, there will be noone to remember. So, if we are to continue to use this word, we must allocate a new meaning to it...
Regardless of anyone's view of war, every single one of those men believed that we were leaving so as to protect their parents, their siblings, their partners and their children. They were going so that those they cared for could have freedom. They were going so that every person could live in peace.
The sad truth is, we have forgotten that. Because wars still happen. People are not equal: not by any measure. People do not care for one another as they should. If a person is different, they are in some way 'not right', and are penalised because of this. Our world is not free, or peaceful.
And so I come to my new definition:
REMEMBER- (verb), to preserve the essence of something or someone, by ensuring that its/their legacy continues.
Every time that we care for our parents, siblings, partners or children; every time we smile because of the good in the world, we remember.