11.09.2011 08:23 AM

Remembrance

Maj. Alex Ross

From the author:

Warren:

It really bugged me when Harper quoted my uncle at the Vimy memorial on 90th anniversary of Vimy. He took my uncle’s words completely out of context, in order to justify the massive loss of life and glorify war. For me, that was the last straw, and was the genesis for today’s column.

9 Comments

  1. Pete says:

    Harper will steal and plagarize anything and from anyone to suit his needs of the moment.

  2. Anne Peterson says:

    Harper has co-opted Remembrance Day for his own purposes. One of my brothers who served in WW11 said he thought he was fighting to end wars, so that his children and grandchildren would never have to fight in a war. My father and my mother’s father served in WW1. Two of my brothers served in WW11. My other brother was career military. None of them ever went to the Legion, marched in parades or even went to remembrance ceremonies. I remember them all at home quietly on November 11. Canada is refusing to join the organization which works on disarmament. He betrays my family.

  3. smelter rat says:

    That might be the first column I’ve read by Devron Ross that didn’t smack of pettyness and outright horseshit.

  4. pomojen says:

    Thank you for this post.

    I am a first generation Canadian. My parents were children in occupied Europe. My father has lived his whole life with the scars of war first borne as a child. He still has nightmares, still flinches at loud noises, the sounds of cars backfiring or airplanes overheard. Witnessing the pain of others in warzones, particularly children and families, on the nightly news, online, in newspapers etc is almost unbearable to him. Yet he cannot turn away from it and doggedly reads, learns, questions and seeks answers. There are no answers most of the time.

    Every year we go to the cenotaph together and he quietly sobs. It is exhausting for him and he will not stop going until he dies. Neither will I. He has been clear with me about the importance of Remembrance Day since I was a child and why he feels it is so important to never forget – so that others who have not experienced war never underestimate it’s ugliness and brutality. Also so that peace may not be taken for granted.

    And yet war does happen again. More war, more lost lives, more destruction and generational pain. It is a necessary thing under circumstances where crimes against humanity are taking place. But it is a horrific and barbaric thing that no one should glorify or pay tribute. War does not build nations. It destroys them.

    As a health professional now, I see the scars of war in my work. I see it in vets returning from conflict. I see the impact of PTSD on their relationships with others, their loved ones, their children. The injury and pain goes so far beyond the immediate traumas of war. They are haunted forever. And while they all agree that this was what they signed up for, none of them believe they had a particle of awareness of what they were really going to face. The uselessness, the inhumanity and the suffering are beyond any healthy human being’s capacity to imagine, or tolerate. Not one person I have met really knew what they were sacrificing for their country, even if they do not begrudge that sacrifice.

    We can never forget or take for granted. We need a military and we need to fight sometimes. But this glorification and romanticizing of war is a sign that we are forgetting in the worst way – intentionally, for trite and trivial purposes. No one who really knows war would do this. We can be grateful, supportive, choosing very carefully when we must send young people to face what they cannot really understand. And when they come home, altered forever by what they have been part of, we need be equally as courageous as they have been when we care for them, along with their families, generously and with deep gratitude. We should be loath to co-opt their experiences for political, nationalistic ends.

  5. Susan says:

    Remembrance Day is about remembering those who fought for a better world. It should never be about glorifying what these people did for us (they never wanted us to do that because victory was not glorious) , rather, about building on what they did and being the stewards of a civil society.

    My dad just passed away at 88 years old. I miss him more than I can say. He fought in WWII and never once used the words glory and war in the same sentence. He was left for dead in a German schoolhouse, the only survivor of the Black Watch that day. My dad’s only brother died on the last day of WWII, the victim of a roadside bomb that had not been dismantled. This, after 4 years of fighting. He never knew his daughter.

    Shortly before my dad passed away this summer, he told me that we can individually make a difference by caring for each other and never fighting another war. Its never the solution.

    Lets remember whats really important on November 11 and then live it.

  6. steve says:

    My Grandfather was in most WWI battles, he told only two stories, one was celebrating Christmas with the Germans, and how they were just like us, and the other the time a German bi plane just waved its wings at him instead of killing him.

    • allegra fortissima says:

      I read about the Christmas Truce for the first time a few years ago, and the story touched my heart – “In our age of uncertainty it comforting to believe, regardless of the real reasoning and motives, that soldiers and officers told to hate, loathe and kill, could still lower their guns and extend the hand of good will, peace, love and Christmas cheer.”:

      http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/christmastruce.htm

  7. Man ,,It is sad the author is using this time of year to play politics. The Prime Minister understands the Military and having heard him speak on the subject,I have never heard him glorifying anything, in fact his sensitivity to the outright waste and despair was quite obvious. His father Joe was a noted Military writer and historian and I,m pretty sure laid the foundations of the Prime Minister’s understanding of both Canadian Military culture and the Horror of war. Say what you want about Harper, but these accusations are, well, just false in my opinion.

  8. “Never Again”…..Cliff Chadderton

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