Unlike some of my sons, I don't watch war movies. Ditto for books about warfare of any stripe (no pun intended). Throw in any show about the Holocaust, for that matter—I'm just not into it. I suppose that makes me a wimp of sorts, but I can live with that.
Beyond the queasiness of blood and gore, there is a measured conviction on my part of the futility and anguish of war that really gets to me. And any medium that trivializes war and peace, is evil. That would be evil, as in E-V-I-L.
And, in light of the Remembrance Day celebrations that will take place in two days, my thoughts are focused on war of any kind—be it on a global scale, such as the Muslims versus the rest of us; at a country level, such as Iraq; or even gang warfare in Calgary.
War a horrible reality, so to pretend it shouldn't or doesn't exist is the depth of ignorance. If the heroes of the the major world wars hadn't stepped up to do their duty, we'd all be eating sushi in our brown shirts, with a sickle and a sword on our flag.
War, or at least the propensity for war, is as close as family—husband versus wife, sibling rivalry, parent-child conflict. To think that fighting and disputes are simply out there somewhere and overseas is foggy thinking at best. We are at war with each other because we are at war with ourselves.
One of the most unusual oxymorons (no, Maurice, that's not a stupid ox) is a "religious war." If you have what the Scriptures call true religion, there is no place for violence or bloodshed. That's why the Crusades, in my limited understanding, were a debacle at every level. Conquest in the name of Christian, blood because of Bible: People, don't let the repeated lies of history fool you.
So now, in two days, we celebrate "the war to end all wars." A poppy here, a minute of silence there, but in all reality we are just going through the motions. I say that kindly and I say that personally, because I am as guilty as anyone of not really understanding what these men and women suffered so I can enjoy peace.
With everything so plentiful and so peaceful, it is truly next to impossible to appreciate the sacrifice of those who died to make it happen. How do we teach historical gratitude? (That's a question every parent wishes an answer for.) I'm not sure, but I think an accurate war documentary – as opposed to a war movie - might be a good place to start.
Even regionalized news broadcasts might be a step in the right direction. I know I have dealt with this before, so that's almost the extent of my commentary. But some sort of appropriate exposure that shows the horrors of life in Iraq, Somalia, the Congo, yet without the glorification of victory--and without the (usual) bias against the United States--would be a start.
With Thursday being Remembrance Day, what should we be in fact remembering? Obviously, we should remember the grandfathers and great-grandfathers that gave their lives and their limbs for us. We should remember that this wonderful country called Canada is worth fighting and dying for, and not to waste the opportunities at our disposal.
And we should likewise remember that there is a war zone in the heart of each one of us, and to keep it in check—so that the war out there never becomes the war in here. It's good to know who the real enemy is.
You see, the greatest casualty of war may not be those who died. It may be those who lived, but forgot the cost of freedom.