My father was in WW ll. He was very badly wounded. My father was wounded so badly that he received a 100% disability pension. That says something when you consider that a soldier who lost both legs would receive an 80% disability pension. My father kept all his limbs but the damage was still so horrific that he was classed as 100% disabled.
To my way of thinking, 100% disabled is dead. For much of the first decade after the war, he thought so, too.
My father was totally wrecked and despite the healing, it took him the rest of his life to get near half better. It took him two years just to get out of the hospital bed and for the next two years after that he was employed at Shaughnessy Hospital as a janitor because he kept collapsing. It was easier to treat him when he was already there.
I mention all this because I know that he would be disgusted by Remembrance Day 2014 as presented by a government near you. He was very respectful of Remembrance Day but he felt that way because of the soldiers and the victims of war – NOT the government then. NOT the government now.
He didn’t speak much of the war and, when he did, it was clear: war is hell and there is no glory in it. He also would have said, “Nor should there be any political gain derived from it!”
Despite the tragedy (and sacrifice) of Cpl. Cirillo, my father would have seen the exaggeration of that nut-bar incident at the Parliament promoted as a quasi-terrorist incident as ridiculous.
My father seethed with anger most of his life but it mostly it just bubbled like lava. But sometimes it erupted like a volcano. Hyperbole by politicians would have just raised the temperature a little bit. Political exploitation, on the other hand, might have set him off like Vesuvius.
He would have grumbled over the tax dollars spent by the Conservative party prior to the nut-bar incident glorifying the war of 1812. “What the hell are they doing that for?” he would have growled.
And again all the saber-rattling over Ukraine and now Iraq.
And all the government of Canada sponsored TV ads imploring us to remember.
And all the fuss over the Franklin Expedition. “Who cares about that, anyway?”
He would have been a little bit more riled over the huge Mother of Canada statue proposed to commemorate Canada’s war dead as stupid and ill-considered. “Why not just help the actual veterans with those millions? Or equip our troops properly?”
But I think he would have been very angry over the whole of it, the cumulative acts by government over the last couple of years to exploit our history for political gain and especially this false alignment of the nut-bar incident with real soldiers in a real war (the victims of the two mental cases are being paraded as soldiers killed on home ground defending our country).
I think he would have raged at Harper standing in front of poppies and monuments and at commemorations talking nonsense when the veterans themselves would likely string the minister of Veterans Affairs from the nearest tree.
I am pretty sure my father would have erupted at the constant political exploitation of everything Canadian and God help the closest politician to him when that happened.
The reason I can say all this is because I, too, am nauseated by all this pomp and hypocrisy being trotted out as some kind of patriotic Canadian-ism. It is not. We are being victimized by political boosterism. It’s propaganda in a uniform. This is USA-type nationalism to glorify our nation and, by association, our current government. It is sickening.
We can be proud of being Canadian all by ourselves, thank you.
If my father’s story is anything to go by (and he was there and he paid the price), war should not be glorified. Not ever. Victims should never be exploited for politics. The general population should not be so easily manipulated as they are (record turnouts for Memorial Day ceremonies thanks to the manipulation of the story for the politicians to ride the tunics of the soldiers). We are a free people and we should exercise that freedom to think for ourselves and NOT allow ourselves to be brainwashed by crass, self promoting politicians.
My father would have said, “Canada is peaceful by nature and that is the way it should be. Any incidents of war were forced on us and let it be left at that. The politicians should stay in the shadows where they belong. And pipsqueaks like Harper should shut the hell up!
I totally agree with you Canadians are being duped and need to wake up. Harper will do anything to get reelected…
And don’t forget my deep cynicism for the media. All that posturing wouldn’t be making news if they had the budget and the cajones to get out and get REAL news. Making a big deal about poppies and old soldiers is cheap TV and easy to report. And EVERYBODY looks good, to boot. And that is also disgusting.
Ooooooohhh………..I could rant even more..!!!
Not a rant but a well expressed repudiation of jingoism on the backs of veterans.
Harper is not the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian military. He is a hypocrite cutting benefits to the military veterans “delay, deny and die.” You article has left Harper naked. Well done.
Thanks. But it is not JUST about Harper. There is some kind of sappy over-sentiment about all sorts of things, Remembrance Day just being the latest. Politicians are playing to the camera all the time and we know it but really….? Exploiting Remembrance day is shameful and – for me – disgusting.
Bravo! Not surprising to see Canada seizing this “moral high ground” to promote further the statist illusions, and solidify their standing in the new world order of nations. Imagine the parade here in the land of your southern neighbors, where every single opportunity to milk blood and sentiment is capitalized upon by the oppressive political state.
No one ever lost even one thin dime betting against the gullibility and utter manipulability of the voting masses – and that’s why we are where we are.
I now know you and DCINBC and some of the other writers and, in my opinion, you are eminently sane (jury is out on a few). If I feel this way and you feel this way, we have to say so. The title was Blasphemy because there is so much treacle and alligator tears to make me heave my lunch but I was wondering if it was just me. Clearly, I am not alone.
Nope, the political grandstanding is nauseating.
The poor military reserve kid that was shot by an obviously deranged wacko at the Ottawa war memorial didnt deserve his fate…but….”hero”? Really?
Unfortunately, its way too late to keep the “politics” out of Rememberance Day.
Lets see Harper put his money where his mouth is and actually start building some Coast Gaurd ships and make a decision on what type of Navy ships will actually be built…..
The endless decision political process is an embarrassment.
As a consultant hired by the Canadian govt stated in his report.
The Canadian military procurement process is a case study on how NOT to procure military equipment.
Do we have a decision on replacement Helicopters yet? Replacements for the F-18’s yet?, Supply ships? Frigates? and (god help us) subs?
I have a new military strategy for the Canadian govt. …We’ll just talk our enemies to death……..we do seem to excell at that
I recently went to the “Wait for me Daddy” unveiling in downtown New Westminister. You remember the famous WW2 photo of a little blond boy shaking hands with his dad marching in a line of troops heading off to war. in Downtown New West.
It was PAINFUL.
The speeches …..my god the speeches from the endless parade of politicians. I’m sure Ive forgottten some but here goes.
The local New west councillor that came up with the idea, the Lt. Governor of BC, Rich Coleman, The mayor of New West, the head of the Canadian Mint (unveiled a new twoonie), a Canada Post spokesperson( new stamp), little kids with poems, the artists( they essentially copied the photo and were VERY well paid for their work), the daughter of the deceased Vancouver Sun photographer, The editor of the Vancouver Sun, veterans of the regiment that were in the photo, …. and then …..last but not least…….. the little boy who is now an 80 year old man.
The public was standing for over two hours in the rain and after the unveiling……We all had to wait, in the rain, while these self same politicians who had been seated under canopies on the stage stood around getting their pictures taken with the man and the statue….. Grandstanding is a political right.
One interesting bit of trivia.
The photo was the last time the father, mother and son were all photographed together. The mother divorced her husband halfway through the war and they never met again with the boy present.
Too bad about the family…….another casualty of war, perhaps. But, honestly….this kind of thing has to be nipped in the bud or it will become more of a ‘platform’ for all sorts of crap. Remembrance Day is NOT crap. I think the two minutes is a fitting way to observe and likely sincere for many. I feel the loss. But I do NOT feel the loss for hours and hours while standing in the rain nor is that loss made better by endless speechifying. No wonder the nut-bars snap!
Over the past 40 years I would say Ive been to 35 Rememberance Day ceremonies. I used to be front row, center an hour before the proceedings start.
Now I show up about 5mins to 11 and stand well back behind everyone.
Too many rude , pushy people that show up and barge their way to the front.
At the Wait for me Daddy unveiling I let a vet in a wheelchair infront of me and 3 short elderly ladies that couldnt see what was going on. At the very last minute several tv reporters pushed their way through and set up big tripods and microphones THEN a photographer barged his way to the front and stood directly in front of all of us and I loudly berated him for his crass behaviour. Everyone started to yell at him to kneel down or move( most of the people around me had been standing for 2 hours or more in the rain and this prick waltzes in at the last minute? FU buddy! I dont care if your the Queen of Sheba….MOVE!
A police officer saw that it was getting ugly and made him move.
The sense of entitlement of “the press” never ceases to amaze me. No wonder so many of them become politicians or advisors to politicians.
I love reporters who do real journalism (Laila Yuile and the Tyee are pretty good for local stuff) and I’d even give them my assistance if they were doing a Woodward and Bernstein-type investigation. But these ‘photo-ops’ aren’t journalism, they are PR at best, lies most of the time. And it just galls me when Ian Hanomansing interviews Peter Mansbridge….two talking heads in the same office! What the hell is that?
On an aside note.
I read a few months ago that the federal govt is using the archeological “Franklin Expedition” as some sort of justification for their “Sovereignty of the North” claims.
Which when you consider that it was a British expedition and Canada wasnt a country then. Makes the whole thing a tad far fetched.
But , as a history buff. I think the retrieval of artifacts from this arctic “time capsule” is kinda neat but .
The cost is a slap in the face$200 million so far? Seriously? Are the archeologists ordering in Tim Hortons expressos?.
I liked it when Canadian troops had a peace keeping mission. Now the roll of Canadian troops is touted as peace makers.
Here’s a great read on the “continuous state of war” we’ve been in, and its impact on the burgeoning kleptocracy. Note I also include the infamous “war on drugs” down here in the lower 48 in all this.
I am not so sure that I believe that AMERICA wants and needs war although there is a lot to be said for that argument – not the least of which is the profitability for the Industrial Military and Financial complex. But, instead, I think it is more like Bre’r Rabbbit and the tar-baby…once you are stuck in, it is hard to get unstuck. Like all criminal gangs, the fear of getting out lies in the reprisal from retribution. The US has such a dismal record of international relations, they pretty much have to have tanks and missiles t hand. But was that their intention? I don’t think so. I certainly do not attribute that intention to anyone under a General or CEO position. Ordinary people (including 99.9% of NRA members, gun collectors and even tattoo nuts) just don’t want to kill people. Most people are lovers not fighters. The problem is with the dickheads who have power.
Not so sure Father was as much a dove as you think. He hated war, but he wasn’t against fighting if need be. Not personally, that is for sure. But, also politically/internationally. And, yes, he would have hated politicians trying to get something from it.