My father drove a tank in Germany for NATO, my Great Uncle was Norman Bethune, who fought fascism as a doctor in China, and my many greats grandfather was General Sir Isaac Brock, who defended Canada during the war of 1812. There were many more, of lessor fame but not lessor valor.
My own military experience is far more limited - Air Cadets, militia and a civilian instructor for wilderness survival. Nonetheless, I feel a strong sense of duty to my countrymen and women, and every November 11 (Remembrance Day here in Canada) I reflect on the losses my family and my country have endured.
I don't like war, and would be more than happy to see it become extinct as a method of solving problems. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way, and in practice if you let bullies succeed, it just encourages more bullying. Same with warlords and warhawks.
In Canada (and the UK and Australia), we have a tradition where we wear a poppy on our lapel around Remembrance Day to symbolise our sympathies for those lost in battle, and to help support veterans, who use the money made from the poppy drive to help homeless and ill veterans. It's a really nice gesture, and one I'm astonished has not been picked up in the US.
After all, although the poppy drive gets it's symbolism from a poem written by a Canadian, it was an American schoolteacher who first started wearing them, followed by a French woman who used them to raise money for war orphans. It was only after this , in 1921, that Canadian veterans associations began to use it.
Regardless, I'm posting a poppy on this blog (below) and am virtually giving one to everyone I know - not in support of war, but in remembrance of those lost in war, and in the hope that one day the world will be a better place.