Why I wear red

By  Stephanie Butcher, Youth Speak News
  • February 23, 2007
I wear red on Fridays. It’s not because red is one of two colours associated with Christmas, my favourite holiday. It’s not because red represents the Holy Spirit and as a charismatic Catholic the Spirit is a major part of my spirituality.

It’s not even because I’m particularly fond of the colour red. I’d much prefer wearing my favorite colour, blue.

The reason I wear red on Fridays is because it is my way of showing silent support to our Canadian Forces. They are the men and women who are selflessly standing in the line of fire so that you and I can live free from the fear of terrorism. 

I never used to pay attention to the war in Afghanistan. To me, the war was “over there” while I was safe here in Canada. That train of thought ended in November, when my fiancé Ian re-enlisted in the forces. 

I experienced a few long, heart-stopping moments after he told me he’d re-enlisted, but I wasn’t surprised. I know that God calls us all to a particular walk of life and he’s pointed out to me that he feels he was born to be a soldier.

As I began university five years ago, I too felt a very strong pull to do something for my country and wanted to enlist in the forces. However, with a medical history of depression, I realized that God’s plan for me is not to become a soldier. Although I will gladly take my place as one of His soldiers.

These days I believe that within the general population of Canada there are too many cases of deliberate amnesia developing. It’s imperative that we remember those soldiers, the ones who are fighting for our freedom, so that I am free to write what comes into my heart, work where God wants me and travel by train, bus, plane or boat without worrying that it might be hijacked and used to harm others.

I am not the only one who’s wearing red on Fridays. I received an e-mail the other day which said that patriotic Canadian citizens are pleading with other Canadians to wear red on Fridays and buy “Support our Troops” merchandise.

War is a horrible force of evil malignantly alive in our world. It is a rabid pestilence, torturing and mutilating us — one that leads to brokenness, death and suffering beyond belief for all parties involved.

I do not condone war. I don’t pretend to think it’s as glorious as Hollywood would have us believe. But, in the past, God certainly called for soldiers to rise up and fight. So we can be sure He’s got a plan for those enlisted men and women fighting in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world today.

We cannot, as Christians, condone the act of war itself: at least not in good conscience.  But the soldiers who fight for us need to know that they themselves are supported and deeply appreciated. The sacrifices they have made and continue to make on our behalf must be acknowledged, not swept under the carpet of our society to be forgotten. They must know that we are praying for them.

I pray for our troops. I pray for peace. And I wear red on Fridays.

(Butcher, 24, is a freelance writer in Toronto.)

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