On Remembrance Day, poetry seems to belong to Dr. John McCrae and his poem “In Flanders Fields.” McCrae wrote this poem on May 2, 1915, one day after a close friend was killed by a German shell. The “speakers” in his poem are the Dead buried in Flanders Fields who tell of their lost ability to love and be loved. They demand the living continue their battle or they will not sleep. A contemporary of McCrae’s, Robert Service, who drove an ambulance and worked as a stretcher bearer in the same war, wrote with more compassion particularly in “Only a Bosche”. Continue reading Only a Bosche
“Older men start wars, but younger men fight them.” So said Albert Einstein.
And he was right, dead right. And no where was the slaughter more tragic than in World War I. For the Great War was the War of Attrition. It was acceptable to our politicians and generals if 10,000 men on our side died in a battle along with 15,000 men of the enemy. That’s what attrition is all about. Grind down the enemy and their resources by expending our men and resources. Just be sure their losses are greater than ours. If both sides are approximately equal in men and resources such a strategy exercised successfully will win the War… eventually. But at horrible costs. Continue reading War of Attrition
Hillary Clinton’s position on the Falklands this week provides Canada with an opportunity to right an old wrong imposed by the United States just over a century ago. The American Secretary of State encouraged Argentina and Britain to sit down and talk about their claims and the future of these tiny islands, much to the chagrin of the Brits whose position has been no-way unless the islands’ inhabitants agree to such negotiations. Since Clinton is so gung-ho on talking, Prime Minister Stephen Harper should insist that the Americans look to their own backyard and re-open the issue over the Alaskan panhandle. Canadians who know their history appreciate that blatant travesty of justice this old border dispute represents. Continue reading Thank You, Mrs. Clinton
Did you know that until World War II, the only land links spanning Canada from coast to coast were railway tracks? It’s true, the war stimulated the Canadian government to build roads between small towns north of Lake Superior (where I was raised) so motor vehicle traffic could eventually cross the country, too. There were good reasons. Three sets of track stretched over this area. If German saboteurs ever blew up three bridges simultaneously, our country’s only method of land transportation would have been severed, at least temporarily. Continue reading Mighty Miniatures of Quinte
I picked up my poppy this year on November 9 from an attractive, middle-aged lady who was standing outside my local Valu-Mart. It was closer to Remembrance Day than usual but, like I do every year, I had waited to see if I could get my poppy from a war vet. They’ve always been easy to spot with their medals and all and, when they have been willing to talk, I like to ask them about their war experiences. But this year, every place I went the only people offering poppies for Remembrance Day were younger members of Legion who clearly didn’t qualify as vets.
I mentioned this to the lady and she smiled pleasantly at me. Then she said, “My grandfather fought in World War II and my great-grandfather was at Vimy Ridge. Perhaps that is enough to let me qualify for you this year?” Continue reading Remembrance Day, 2009