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Globe editorial

Why it's important to reflect on Vimy

From Monday's Globe and Mail

All Canadians need to be aware that it is the sacrifice of soldiers — whether in past wars or in Afghanistan — that keeps Canada strong and free. ...Read the full article

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  1. sam themacman from Canada writes: Conrad's book, Heart of Darkness, and even Coppula's interpretation of the same book, in Apocalypse Now, all reveal the evil of war, and what it does to hearts and minds of the men who wage it, and those who have to fight it. Today of all days, should be a day to reflect on one hard the sacrifice paid by so many young men and women, but the context need not be far from our thoughts either. There is little room for sentimentality, and the absurdity of noble sacrifice for the sake of nationalism, or even the pretense of what some have the gall to define as a 'just war'. World War One was all about empires and about absurd treaties that drove nations past the brink and into the abyss. These same governments with the romanticized notions of 'patriotic duty' led to the losing of millions of men, and all that they could have been, all for the hubris of patriotism. There is no greater evil than that which men do in the name of country, and there is no sadder tale than to hear the stories of those who went, believing the lies of patriotism, and saw their friends die because of them. I am saddened by the loss of millions of men and women and children, all because of a war that could have been prevented, and for all the wounds and scars that have been carried by those who believed that their going actually made a difference. World War One was a war of greed and national pride gone haywire. Vimy Ridge is well remembered as a key historical date for Canada, but my oh my, the price paid, and for what? Two decades later there was a bloodier war waged. We are doomed it seems to repeat the unlearned lessons of the past.
    The CF in Afghanistan is fighting in an undeclared war that was started by a foreign power, the USA. There is no comparison with Vimy. We are only deceiving ourselves about this new war, for duty to country can be both noble and the most vile, and sometimes at the same time. Afghanistan is a vile war. The sooner we get out, the better.
  2. Linda Martin from Canada writes: Vimy as I reflect on the sacrifice and the dear cost of lives paid by so many of our Canadian soldiers, my heart says thank you for their bravery and for paying the price for our freedom. It also brings to mind what my war veteran father said to me before he passed away. My father served in WWII as a gunner with the R.C.A. He was wounded in France and almost died, but as the Priest was giving him the last rites, he came to. He has since passed away and I am thankful for the time that he was here. So many family members of those who served didn't have the privilege that I had, for many of their loved ones sacrificed their lives on the battlefield, and my heart goes out to them. Before my dad's recent passing he started sharing with me some of his wartime experiences, many times with tears in his eyes. I asked him why was he sharing his war experiences with me and he spoke as a voice of many for he said to never forget him and all the other veterans, never forget the sacrifice and the price paid. He told me that it was important to remember and for it was part of me. There are no words to fully describe the ugliness of war, it is not my focus but rather to pay tribute to those who served. Today, 5,000 school age children are at Vimy Ridge, many of them paying tribute and remembering their family members who paid the ultimate price in the battlefields. Today, I stand with those family members and ask..Who will remember those who served, who will give them honour, will the grave...NO! But we will. We are their voices, they live on in our hearts. Remember their experiences, share them with your children & grandchildren, for it is part of you. My dad's only wish was to be remembered for his service to his country, and he spoke not as one, but surely as the voice of many and today, I stand with the family members and say thank you to those who served and paid the price. In loving memory of my dad.
  3. Serge Loutch from Kingwood,TexasA, United States writes: With all due respect to the fallen soldiers involved in this Vimy battle, that was a small part of the huge slaugther that was the First World War, started by a cascade of mistakes, great Powers' arrogance, under the same old cover of defending our freedoms..., etc...
    The only country about to loose its freedom in 1914, was Serbia. A long time thorn in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
    Unforfunately, it seems nothing has been learned in Canada or elsewhere, as the loss of your 6 young men in Afghanistan shows, an illegal war that Bush started, and for some unfathomable reason Canada joined, as part of NATO. By what stretch of imagination, does the NATO connection, and the 9/11 B/S, obligate NATO and Canada to join US demands, in its revengeful war on Afghanistan?
  4. Ryan Fillmore from Sackville, Canada writes: Since I have family that served in WW2 and Korea, I feel compelled to talk about how insulting it is for our PM to compare the war in Afghanistan to Vimy Ridge. Our troops are supporting an illegal war, one started by the USA. Nothing that we do in the current war is going to help Canada or any other country in this world. Secondly, it is still an insult to every solder alive or deceased to think that they gave their lives, just so we can be slaves to capitalism and consumerism. I don't believe for 1 minute that thousands upon thousands of people died, just so I could get up and slave all day at a 9 to 5 job. If you really think that this is freedom, then you have no idea what the fighting was for.
  5. G Mack from Toronto, Canada writes: Harper's hates gays, loves war...maybe he should work for 'FOX'!!!

    He does what he wants, but forgets he was voted in 'for the people, by the people'!

    I'll look fwd to all the Pro Harper/anti gay(racist)/war loving comments...bring it on!
  6. Tommy Shanks from toronto, Canada writes: Gee G Mack, so if a freely elected national government asks the international community for military help against insurgents based next door, the nations that reply are "..Pro Harper/anti gay(racist)/war loving.." Sorry, I just don't buy it that the NATO nations that replied to Bosnia's call for aid, including Canada, were anything like that. Further, I would love to see you level such a charge in a verbal exchange between you and former PM Martin. You know, the same PM that committed Canada to a combat role in Kandahar AND passed gay marriage legislation

    As for the sacrifices of our citizens, from Vimy, the Somme and even in Afghanistan, we will always be collectively grateful, but also ashamed at the same time. Ashamed because some of their deaths were due to a less than total commitment by our nation to support our troops, either via a bad battlefield decision, a lack of political will to equip them for the task at hand or a failure of diplomacy.
  7. Michael Cawthra from Lakewood Colorado, United States writes: Shakespeare spoke of war in Henry V: "(I)f we know we are the king’s subjects: if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us.... But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together to cry ’We all died at such a place’. I am afeared there are few die well that die in battle; for how can they dispose of anything when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black for the king that led them to it."
    You can compare the current leadership of three nations, UK, Canada, and USA in this condemnation of war. This current affair is unjust, as nearly all people who have a conscience will recognize, but we still need to remember and honor those who went, and served, and died. I know I don't want to go, so if there is someone who does, I honor their courage.
  8. Andrew Mulcahy from Victoria, Canada writes: Could we not have found another way to "come of age" other than by voluntarily sacrificing the lives of thousands of our young men to the God of War?
  9. Cheap Skate from Vancouver, Canada writes: Canada did not come of age at Vimy Ridge. We simply recognised what had already happened. At Vimy Ridge the rest of the world suddenly recognised that Canada had been ignored for far too long and the child had grown up. Now, 90 years later we find that once again Canada has recognised that it has grown up beyond its economic masters south of the border and there will shortly be a recognition that Canada has been ignored for far too long. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we are willing to accept the responsibility of being adults or will we continue to look for parents to tell us how to behave?
  10. randy gazoo from belleville, Canada writes: Well Mr. Fillmore : Thankyou for letting us know that we do have and will continue to have free speech in this country. Say whatever you want. Canadians will listen to the truth and put up with the rest. I suppode you do not drive an SUV using petroleum products and do not use any inventions by American citizens in your life. You may have forgotten 3000 plus Amercans and 25 Canadians killed in WTC. Perhaps you did not realize that the Air India disaster wiped out freedom for 300 plus Canadians off the coast of Ireland. Do you want some one with higher authority, perhaps the pope or an archbishop to tell us we are under attack again? by a society which hates our lifestyle. Did you miss the Taliban destruction of a 1200 year old budha statue in Afghanistan? Perhaps you thought the WTC disaster was caused by geese flying too low. Think about it. The WTC was the result of 50 million expenditure, five years in planning and terrorist connections in at least 5 countries. Did you miss the fact that the Taliban destroyed all schools in Afganistan and ripped live humans limb from limb in their soccer stadium. I don't need the pope or the arch bishop to tell me we are at war. I do need to understand your comment that the war is illegal. Exactly what is war? in your opinion? Does legality apply? Does God apply? Your lifestyle is targeted as is mine.
  11. randy gazoo from belleville, Canada writes: Mr. Loutch.
    History tells us that Constantinople fell to the Ottoman turks in 14'th century. By 1914 the turks were outside Serbia, a mountainous area very much in the Balkans. Where the sultans of turkey kidnapped 12 year old boys and carried them back to Istanbul for 400 years. These boys were converted instanly to Islam in a most horrendous way. Consult your history books on the Jannisarries. Are you willing to allow your first born to be converted. Serbia and Kosovo are still very much active in wars.
    "Thorn in the side" Is that your way of trivializing loss of freedom, kidnapping, and war. Again, Are you willing to lose your first born son to a sultan in Turkey. If you study your history a bit, you will realize your own freedom is under attack by the same forces that caused the original Serbian confrontation.
  12. Simon Templar from Fredericton, Canada writes: G Mack why does everything have to do with an anti Gay tone. Divorced fathers refuse to pay child support in Canada and scream its because their oppressed as a gay....

    If you read the forum in English its because people like my step son now in Afghanistan at age 21 are doing something in their lives. Their not worried about others thoughts of hatred against what they are striving to teach others, that beign self sustainability in a have nothing counrty. Perhaps this is the same reasoning young men and women - some most likely homosexual at the time of Vimy and almost every other modern day conflict. Unless you have blonde hair and blue eyes guess where you would have ended up had these soldiers not made the ultimate sacrifice???? In an abortion clinic on the floor. But you forgot to mention pro-lifers and pro-choicers in your bashing.

    Your response has little to do with the memory of the sacrifices hundreds of thousands of people made so that you could be brought into this world a free to speak against or in favor of whatever you choose.

    He does what he wants, but forgets he was voted in 'for the people, by the people'!

    I'll look fwd to all the Pro Harper/anti gay(racist)/war loving comments...bring it on!

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