Lest We Forget
Today at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we commemorate the end of the Great War to End All Wars. Of course as it turned out it didn't end all wars, and still today we have wars all over, some of which are difficult to even explain, understand or justify.
But we take this moment to think of those who have served and in too many cases sacrificed so much - even life itself, in the hope that their heirs could enjoy freedom and peace.
To help put this day in perspective I would recommend reading The state of things Remembrance Day at the Galloping Beaver.
We lost our last Great War veteran this past year. We are losing veterans of the Second World War at an exponential rate. Very soon there will be none. There are peacetime veterans scattered about and even though Afghanistan is a major conflict, it is dwarfed by the scale of those conflicts before it. It is, if I might say this, our first peacetime war..../snip
....On 11 November 2008, a former fighter pilot turned Conservative member of parliament recited not a line from the McCrae's wrenching call for peace or some careful words about the danger of war, but a tasteless barrack ballad by a USMC padre glorifying the military and chastising those who did not bow at its altar. This man publicly fantasized that the Russian air force posed a threat the Olympics. This man was from a party whose leader so recently declared in the House of Commons that his was the only party for the troops. There was sulphur in the air that day and it weren't from the gun salute.
Over the past several years too, we've seen members of the governing party don military uniform and rank as habit.
Nevermind that they hide OUR wounded from us and pass bills that slash their benefits. Nevermind that the prime minister suspended parliament rather than answer hard and justified questions about the conduct of the war.
Nevermind that his government put Air Canada's whinge ahead of the logistical needs of the Canadian Forces at war.
Nevermind that this government maintains our - optional - committment to this - optional - war that produces this current generation of veterans. The prime minister's word and we stop making new combat veterans. It is that simple.
We've watched this government deploy the armed services against the Canadian public whilst we were exercising the very freedom that the fading generation bled and died to defend. We've seen those Canadians questioned for their actions there by a member of this government also seen in unearned rank and uniform.
But today is the day to remember those who have sacrificed. Tommorrow we can again think of dealing with those who would exploit people's love of country for their own phoney objectives or greed or power.