"It was like an enormous machine that had got hold of you. You'd no sense of acting of your own free will, and at the same time no notion of trying to resist. If people didn't have some such feeling as that, no war could last more than three months. The armies would just pack up and go home. Why had I joined the Army? Or the million other idiots who joined up before conscription came in? Partly for a lark and partly for England my England and Britons never never and all that stuff. But how long did it last? Most of the chaps I knew had forgotten all about it long before they got as far as France. The men in the trenches, didn't hate the Kaiser, didn't give a damn about gallant little Belgium and the Germans raping nuns on tables (it was always on tables', as though that made it worse) in the streets of Brussels. On the other hand it didn't occur to them to try and escape. The machine had got hold of you and it could do what it liked with you."
- George Orwell, Coming up for Air
For the past week NLSS students have had the displeasure of hearing passages regarding Remembrance Day read over morning announcements. I feel nothing but respect and gratitude toward veterans, but the midden heap of justification and glorification that has been placed upon them by the school sickens me.
"Fighting for our freedom" and "dying for our way of life" were the farthest things from soldiers' minds. While they may have had such lofty aims when they went off to war, along with all the other things the government and the media had conditioned them to believe, these ideals were lost very quickly. Soldiers killed and died for no nobler reason than that they were ordered to. They lost their humanity, if not their lives, simply because that's what everyone around them was doing. To tack noble motives on their actions only lessens their sacrifice, turning it into something it was not.
The word "sacrifice" implies a choice, of which the soldiers had none. We would certainly not be leading the lives we have today if not for them, but they certainly didn't "pay the price." They were robbed. It may make us feel comfortable to say that "they made a sacrifice for our way of life", but the harsh reality is that they were a sacrifice for our way of life.
If you want to know what wars are really all about, don't look to the school for anything but easy and convenient answers. Instead, read All Quiet on the Western Front or watch "Saving Private Ryan." Better still, go down to the legion and ask a vet.
However fantastic it may be, this twisted presentation pales in comparison to the school's presentation of the present. They would have us believe that we currently enjoy the rights and freedoms veterans allegedly fought for, when said rights are violated every day in every way within the walls of NLSS. I believe the examples used were "...freedom of speech and freedom of choice..." You only have to look at any other article on this page to learn how they violate those ideas everyday.
This kind of mutilation of the past to further one's own self-image and influence the thoughts of the public is the most heinous and manipulative form of propaganda. It's not surprising that NLSS has chosen to use it.