When I first moved to the UK, I wondered why everybody wears a little poppy flower in November. Then I found out about #Remembrance Day. To be honest, I don’t think that we have a Remembrance Day in the Balkans as such. A pity.
I like that there is a time like that in the country I now call home (UK). I like it that the Brits remember and WANT to remember. People talk about it, about their and our past, passing it down through the generations. It needs to be talked about. It needs to be remembered. How else do we, younger generations, learn and choose a right path for ourselves and change our futures for the better? How would we pass the knowledge down to our children and grandchildren, together with the (harsh) lessons learnt from all the wars in our past?
I remember loving history and enjoying every moment of historical museum trips so much so that I would visit the exhibitions just by myself or with my father who explained how the guns exhibited would have been used. I read as many books about WWII as I could get my hands on as a child, which wasn’t many, but I reread them. Time and again.
Then times changed in the 1990s. I was growing up and reading about anything but the World Wars. Because another war was everywhere around me: in the newspapers, on TV and radio, on the faces of refugee teens who became my classmates…
I like remembering the past from ‘before my time’. Not only because I can learn from it through lives of other people still living, but because it makes me put things in the right perspective. It makes me appreciate everything I know and have today as an individual, as a part of a community, as a descendant of my grandparents and parents who were not so lucky and who suffered great losses during and after the wars.
I was very happy to come across a lovely book called “Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe” by Simon Winder in a local charity shop the other day. I bought it and started looking for some others on the Internet by some great authors who wrote about those times. I look forward to a good pot of tea, maybe some cake to go with it (if I’m good) and a good read herbal slimming pills.
I heal through remembering and take my hat off to the ones who gave their lives so we have a better today.