Remembrance Day is and important time. To remember the hundreds of thousands of dead Canadians. But also to reflect on the time we live in now. It’s true that soldiers aren’t coming home in body bags with the same regularity of other wars. So this one must be cleaner than wars we have fought in the past.
I got myself a press pass through the charlatan and went downtown for the national remembrance day ceremonies. I was relegated to the media nosebleeds with zoom lens that fell short of the distance I needed. Finally I ended up, on my knees on flag stones, squeezed between 30 000 people at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Despite trying to work I thought of three things throughout the day.
1. My great grandfather, Walter Hulme Senior, who was three years older than I am currently in July 1944 when he was killed by a grenade after taking part in D-Day.
2. The dead soldiers and their families from the Afghan war. How we’ve twisted national identity to define success through military adventures, and how these young men and women were told and told others that they were risking their lives to protect Canada. I respect that attitude, it’s too bad their government deceived them.
3. The people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Serbia, Palestine, Cambodia and many more. Soldiers don’t die in wars anymore, only civilians. To the innocent victims of inter-state violence remembrance offers nothing because though we claim to remember, tomorrow a misguided bomb may miss its target by 1km in Afghanistan. We’ll call it a missed shot. But the family whose house it hit will have a different opinion.