11 November 2012

Posted: November 12, 2012 in Change

[music: Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits]

I don’t think too often of the time I spent with the Canadian Armed Forces, the 11th of November is an exception.  I remember one year I participated in the commemoration of a young solider, Private Thompson, the sole Canadian bestowed with the Victoria Scarfe for tending to the wounded during the Battle of Paardeberg. He died a decade later in a hospital from appendicitis.

Once democracy was “a question of voting whether or not to go to war with Sparta, and then going there in person, perhaps to die.” (Tiziano Terzani, A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East, Chapter 16).

I learnt much during my time with the Forces. Most importantly, I learnt that there are few ‘just wars’, but Democracy’s Paymasters & Leaders are also masters of invention, rationalisation and propaganda. I am glad that I was never asked to go to war, I never had to commit crimes in the name of an ideological cause none can question, and I didn’t arrive home in a box labelled ‘hero’… or send ‘heroes’ home in their own boxes.

Terzani’s observation leads us to a rather common sense conclusion: that the world, and democracy, would undoubtedly be better served when those who clamour for war have to serve on the font lines themselves – and send their sons and daughters as well.

“There’s so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones…

…Every man has to die
But it’s written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We’re fools to make war
On our brothers in arms”

-Dire Straits

The Brooding Solider, photo taken 11 Nov 2011.

Here’s a more personal photo, gone are Kennedy O’Brien and Steve White.

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Comments
  1. Hook says:

    My grandfather, Fred Henning, was in France on 11 Nov 1918. He and some of his buddies had decided to supplement their rations with some cabbage they had found. Unfortunately, the cabbages had been saturated with mustard gas, and Grampa was sent straight to the hospital. It very likely that he heard the news that the war was over, and that he would not be going back to the front, while lying in a hospital bed. It must have been a great day for Fred.

  2. […] Here’s a link to the 11th of November 2012. […]

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