Friday, November 10, 2006

Remembering war veterans

I attended a Remembrance Day Ceremony with my son's class at the university of Toronto earlier today.

It was a moving and beautiful ceremony.

I believe Remembrance Day is a day for remembering the sacrifices of so many people during wartime in the last 100 years, incl. the Great War, WW II and the Korean War.

But somehow, it's harder to think of today's wars in the same sense. The great world wars that serve to tell stories of valour, national pride and steadfastness are ones I am proud to tell my children about and make sure we remember those that protected our families and friends for all time. Can we say the same about the Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan and dare I say Iraq ?

I was in
Halifax, Nova Scotia this summer for a business trip and during one of the mid-morning breaks I went outside to the harbour (famous for the massive explosion in 1917) for some fresh sea air. At that moment, HMCS Athabaskan was returning home from the Persian Gulf (a colleague of mine who's father had built the ship helped identify her and a few locals I talked with told me where her mission had been). The local lady emotionally said "it's good to have the boys home (her son had served in Kosovo in years past)". Her simple words and seeing the sailors proudly standing rail side onboard was a moment I don't want to ever forget - a proud moment to be a Canadian.

Now, a few months have passed and debate is heating up on the mission in Afghanistan. Canada's troops are supposed to be there until 2009 and casualties and fatalities are becoming weekly occurrences. The battles and dangers seem to be ever increasing. The latest comments centre on whether the war can actually be won ! Shouldn't this have been part of the decision process to engage in Afghanistan ? What made the military leaders think they could win ? What has changed ? Personally, I am not a fan of the military, but It think it is an important investment for world security. So if we're doing a good job and making a difference we should be there to help with the fight against terrorism. Are we afraid to show the Taliban they may have won this time ? Have we made it worse by challenging them in the first place ? Canada has always been known and respected as a conscientious ally in world concerns, and I don't think we should back down from that commitment.

Sitting hear in my comfy office, about to head home to my wonderful family in my safe and secure world, I wonder about the men and women out there putting their life on the line for us.

So today is a time for me to remember those who have served their country in the past and also recognize the dedication our troops have today to securing our world.

Some interesting historic links -
British military conflicts; List of wars; and the Military History of Canada.


Anonymous said...

Great Topic Bro.

I agree with all your sentiments. We celebrate veterans day here in the US for the same reasons, to honor those brave soles that defended our country's freedom. But today I fear the soldiers know little of what they are defending anymore.

Historically our wars were motivated by Power, Commerce, Religion, etc, and no matter what side you were on, it was easy to consider yourself the good vs. the bad. White and black hats, cowboys and indians, but today that line has been blurred.

A large part of the american popluation no longer supports the war in Iraq, and although the media might point towards the death toll as the motoivation, I believe it is because we are starting to see the evil aspects of our own nation, the deceat, the corruption, and the ignorance.

Todays war serves means we know little about, today's wars and leaders have become transparent leaving no clear cut answer to who is right and wrong, and who to believe. How do you stay patriotic towards that?

Bring the troops home I say, stop using them to protect oil prices, a presidency, and a myth. They deserve far more, they deserve to come home to the freedom they protected, not cheaper gas prices.


PJMixer said...

Well put bro.