Thursday, November 10, 2011

11/11/11

Sure, it's just an anomaly on the calendar that will be repeated in a hundred years, but at 11:11 we stop to remember.

I've often wondered if the young men who came home were met with the same sort of disrespect we often see today. The questions of "Why are we there?, statements of , "You volunteered for it", and "It's not the same kind of war as WE saw" show that ignorance to all vets can even be found among vets themselves, as if a 30 year old can't have a Veteran's license plate because he wasn't around for the Battle of Britian.

Today's vets are probably in an even more difficult situation as they are not sent to a theater of combat, but they are in harms way... and the enemy is often unseen and unknown. At least you could see a Jerry coming at you, or a ship with a flag that had the sun emblazoned on it, that big red circle on a white background.

I stopped to think about the last "great war" as if a war could be called great in any sense other than meaning "big". Canada was a member of the Commonwealth. We still recognized "the King" as having some significance, but really, we were already a "grown up" country, as was Australia, and New Zealand. We didn't go because we were "told to" go.

I can only believe that young men went to fight a war so far away because the recognized that FRIENDS needed us.

We never learned that Commonwealth countries were friends when I went to school. We learned about the Queen, the British Empire, colonization... there were a lot of words but I never remember the word "friends" being used. Canada went to aid their friends long before the US, (just in case you're short on history), who were dragged into WWII kicking and screaming, and actually never offered to help Britain, (early on), in fact, went out of their way NOT to lend any assistance.

What's the point?

The war wasn't OUR war. It wasn't at home, and didn't immediately threaten Canada.(Unless you count the Fire Balloon attacks launched by the Japanese, follow the link for more info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Theater_(1939%E2%80%931945)#Fire_balloon_attacks ) This is a lot like the things our current Armed Forces are doing. It's not "our battle", yet we go there regardless.

Somehow people think the young men and women that go to other countries today are "different". The only  thing different about it all is that when they return they aren't provided with jobs for life in the civil service, they don't have land given to them gratis, or mortgages provided at 3% for their entire term, in fact, it seems like today's vets are really given the short end of a pointy stick comparatively speaking.

Enough ranting. As a guy whose "roots" are in the axis side of the battle, I'm glad Canadians went to assist their friends. I'm  glad for the young men who went, and sad and grateful for those whose lives were snuffed out far too early.

I heard the stories from the other side, and they are eerily similar. Sitting in a fox hole, hearing a mortar shell lade nearby, and not knowing what happened to the guy next to you, yet knowing that the remains of him were all around you.

It didn't matter to the soldier who started what and when. Most of these guys didn't give a rip about Poland, Austria, or anything else... especially some island where the English lived. They just wanted to get on with their lives, but I'm glad they lost.

I was saddened that I didn't have the time needed in France to visit the cemeteries in Normandy. Never closer than 600 km, I wasn't able to see the many rows of markers denoting the many Canadians who fell there, landing by wading through the red water, lambs to the slaughter.

To those men, long gone. Thank you.

To those men and women in the conflicts Canada is currently involved in. Thank you.

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I won't be taking the day off. I'll be working. Mandating respect by ordering stores to close doesn't earn respect, or at least not real respect.

We'll stop at 11:11... no more banging nails, or lugging lumber. We'll pause for a moment to remember.

Again.

Thank you.

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Watching the Jets game, they had a ceremony dedicated to the soldiers that were lost. The piper was playing... every one was silent, except one idiot yelling "Go Jets GO".

I wonder if someone popped him in the teeth, 'cause he sure deserved it.

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