rough notes

lest we forget

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this is going to sound callous, but i can remember a time when remembrance day ceremonies marked not just the “sacrifice” and “bravery” of “our fallen lads”, but also the sheer horror and absolute destruction of war itself.

or do i just want to remember things that way?

here in canada, nearly 10% of our population was killed in action during The Great War: a real decimation.  This number cannot account for the thousands upon thousands of civilians who died in Europe, since those civilian casualities weren’t ours.  So then perhaps, in a Canadian sense Remembrance Day really is a day to remember Our Glorious Dead.

But on the other hand, most Canadians who died in that first “war to end wars” were more ‘civilian’ than they were ‘soldier’ – they were conscripted into service.  Those weren’t brave soldiers fighting in the trenches.  No, those were poorly trained farmers, tradesmen and professionals who were called into service for King and Country.  They weren’t asked to serve: they were forced to serve.  This is not to suggest that I think The Great War was a lost cause (I’m hardly a judge of history) so much as it is to remind ourselves that in our own domestic sense we are remembering the sacrifice our nation took upon itself.

These men did not sacrifice their lives for us.  No, our country called them into action.  We sacrificed them, and now we continue to pay the price, whatever that price that may be.  The Glorious Dead are merely the currency in which we trade this sacrifice in.

Written by mitchellirons

November 10, 2008 at 11:09 pm

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