Discussion in 'General Open Forum' started by IronNoggin, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    I come from a very long line of Warriors. Our Family has fought in every war the US has ever engaged in, going all the way back to both Independence and Civil. Of course along the way, many were lost. Even today, over half of my relatives are in the military in one way or another.

    And today, the 11th of November as I do each and every year, I will wander out to my "church" among the mountains and the pines, and silently offer my utmost respect for those of every one's family who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live like we do today.

    My hat is off once again, and I offer a Firm SALUTE to all of our armed forces members both of the past, and today. [​IMG]

    We must never forget...

    BarryA, Sir Reel, Oly1 and 10 others like this.
  2. sly_karma

    sly_karma Well-Known Member

    I have to say I thought the media coverage of Remembrance Day this year had the right tone for a change. There seemed to be a shift back toward somber reflection on the waste and pain of war rather than endless recaps of Canada's glorious military past. All too often in the past couple of decades we have seen commemoration - bordering at times on celebration - of war and the great achievements of our great nation. That offends me deeply, we really have learnt nothing from history when we draw November 11 as a series of battles won and hills taken. A great and misleading mythology has grown up around Vimy Ridge in the past quarter century, where a bloody but minor battle unremarkable in a war full of bloody battles has been singled out as a seminal moment in the coming of age of a young nation. I grew up in Australia, where the failed Gallipoli landing was similarly cast as the moment of anointment of the fledgling commonwealth.

    I guess it's human nature to try to put a positive spin on ugly, negative events, but it's misleading and and ultimately harmful to let the platitudes shape the historic narrative. The drift has been allowed to persist because there are so few veterans of the world wars left to remind us there is no glory in war, and that they didn't ship out with noble ambitions of sacrifice and freedom. Nationalism and glorification of the military were contributing causes of both world wars, we really shouldn't be going down that road again.

    Cheers to you Matt, and I too doff my lid to the fallen and to our people in uniform, both serving and returned.
  3. ziggy

    ziggy Well-Known Member

    You know I've never regarded Remembrance Day as a celebration of the Military or of war. To me it's always been a sombre reflection on the cost of war,a reminder to those who benefited,of the price others paid for those benefits and still do. It's not a MayDay celebration in Red Square, a Nazi rally in WWII Germany, or a modern day extravaganza by Kim Jung Il inNorth Korea. In fact it seems more about honouring the dead and their memory than glorifying war with huge marching contingents and a display of military equipment.

    What often gets lost in all the pacifist BS,is that Canada never started a war. Never had imperial ambitions, or looked to profit from invasion. Never looked to conquer or occupy. In essence we should be very proud that when others did those things ,we answered the bell. We've always had a small military that's punched far above its weight and I'm very proud of that. From the World Wars through to Afghanistan and all the countless UN and NATO missions our troops have made sacrifices when our country has asked them to.
    BCRingo, Sculpin, sly_karma and 2 others like this.
  4. sly_karma

    sly_karma Well-Known Member

    Something else to consider: in the 20th century's large scale wars, large numbers of combatants were conscripts. In the early days of each conflict, the keeners signed up willingly, some even lied about their age or concealed medical conditions because they so badly wanted to go. But as the massive wars of attrition ate up men at a rate never seen before or since, most governments enacted conscription, Canada included. Whilst viewed by the federal government as militarily necessary, this was a horribly divisive move. French Canadians were vocally opposed to Canadian involvement in the war, with locally born anglos less vocal but nonetheless lukewarm about foreign service. More than half of the volunteer force were British-born, and it was not until after conscription started that the Canadian military had a majority of Canadian-born members.

    I'm even more amazed then at the courage displayed by these men, when many of them were forced to fight in foreign wars by their government. In neither of the two world wars was Canada ever under any meaningful threat, so there was a strong case to stay out. I can't begin to imagine how those young men must have felt about the situations in which they found themselves, fighting over little bits of dirt on behalf of rich old white men. What I do know is the stories we hear today of willing sacrifice, preserving a way of life, freedom, honour, national unity... these are mostly mythology. Some of the myths were spun in an erstwhile effort to make bereaved families feel that it all meant something, some are just modern media dumbing it down for a generation that consume everything in 30 second bites, some have political intent. It is fact that Canada was deeply divided in 1917. Conscription became law four months after Vimy; this was deeply opposed in Quebec with widespread street riots and the War Measures Act was invoked. The fallout from conscription dominated federal politics for decades afterward and essentially shut out the Conservatives from Quebec for half a century. There was certainly no talk of nation building brought about by the battle of Vimy Ridge.
  5. ziggy

    ziggy Well-Known Member

    What you just said makes the actual attendance of the Rememberance Ceremony all the more poignant and relevant. Well the media and Government can spin things whatever way they want, the faces of the veterans tells the real story. I encourage all Canadians to pry themselves away from their tv and actually attend. Talk to the people who "were there, done that and got the T shirt". You'll find them less philosophical and much more realistic than history professors , politicians,or revisionists.

    I disagree as to whether or not Canada was ever under meaningful threat. Particularly in the WWII. I doubt either Hitler or Imperial Japan was about to just stop,after knocking off Europe and the Far East. Truth is the dominoes would have started to fall and as individuals, pretty easily. We really had no choice regardless of what the appeasers say.

    I also disagree that wars are about little bits of dirt, fought over by old rich white men, a generalization that seems to be mostly myth.Two classic recent examples are the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia! No rich white guys there! Also I somehow don't see Hitler as a rich white guy fighting for more dirt, nor Hirohito?

    A couple of sayings come to mind and while maybe I'm butchering them, they go something like this;

    All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
    Every country will have an army, either their own or someone else's

    Anyway to each his own, be nice if we didn't have a military, even nicer if no one else did. Don't see it happening anytime soon though.
    jeffywestcoast likes this.
  6. sly_karma

    sly_karma Well-Known Member

    Well said Ziggy, you're right about going to the ceremonies and talking to the vets. My grandfather couldn't bring himself to do that until more than thirty years had passed. The media buildup to Anzac Day would bring all the memories back and they weren't pleasant ones. But eventually he realised his mates were starting to pass away and decided he needed a get together with the old crew before they were all gone. After that he was an annual attendee right through into his nineties. I went with him several times and could see it was all about each other for those men. They barely listened to the speeches and platitudes but instead drank up the precious chance to be with others who knew what it was like. Their wives, kids and parents mostly had no idea about their war experiences, indeed most of them deliberately wouldn't tell them, wanted to keep that evil place away from their family. Anzac Day was their one time to be with other guys who'd been there. Great comfort in knowing someone else understood. I guess days of remembrance are not unlike a funeral; they're actually for the living.
    jeffywestcoast and ziggy like this.

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