Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Political Leaders commemorate 92nd Anniversary of Vimy Ridge

I join them in Honouring all who participated in that Historic battle. I also wish to include a few thoughts based on memories and conversations I have had with those involved in, and those associated with those involved in campaigns of yesteryear. I selected an excerpt from a statement issued by Micheal Iggnatieff as a reference.

"We will forever honour the fallen of Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Ypres, and the beaches of Normandy. We celebrate the many achievements of these heroic Canadians who remain an inspiration in their selfless courage and dedication to our country. "


My Uncle, Dad's oldest brother was at Vimy. My maternal Grandfather was a Calvaryman with the Hert's Imperial Yeomanry, stationed in Egypt at the beginning of WW 1, and subsequently sent to the Dardenelles. My Father was among the Canadian contingent at Normandy. His baby Brother went to Sicily, and became a career Soldier. I expect that had something to do with a scarcity of jobs in their home area, and that is one of the things I would like to point to.

I never learned much about Wars from members of my immediate family. I didn't hear about great battles, or great acts of courage. I didn't hear about their suffering from them. They never talked about those things. What I learned about their experiences, and the personal horrors, came from someone else many years after they passed. Someone close to both of them. And I heard from my Father, in the night, when the demons came. He didn't know what he was saying of course, those things were just memories that wouldn't leave him. The plight of the Citizen Soldier. The quiet intellectual who went to War not out of Patriotism, as I was told much later, but out of a sense of responsibility to his Family and to satisfy a sense of personal worth.

The reality of scarcity of jobs has often remained throughout the years, and likely explains the high percentage of Atlantic Canadians who are active in Military positions even to this day.

With time and experience, I came to understand why the Citizen Soldier didn't speak of their memories of Battles. Their memories of non combatants. Their memories of friends lost.

I have also come to understand why our Governments won't agree to the simple act of honouring Canadians lost in the Vietnam war during Remembrance Day ceremonies.

They are never mistaken.

Of our politiical leaders, I would ask deeper consideration, further reflection, and a fuller Remembrance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning. We will Remember them.

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