Remembrance Day - Belated
by, 11-15-2010 at 04:08 AM (1521 Views)
For some reason, I obviously didnt post this from draft to blog on the 11th. SO here it is for posterity:
November 11th. The day that, almost 100 years ago, the First World War ended. In Canada and most of the Commonwealth, it is the day we pause to remember those who fought and died at the call of their nations.
The Canadian version of the History channel shows a lot of documentaries and war movies at this time of the year, and being a military history buff, I've been watching a lot of them. Some I consider old friends (Tora Tora Tora, A Bridge Too Far, We Were Soldiers, etc) but some of them are new.
This morning I caught the end of a documentary about a fellow named Leo Major. I'd never heard of the guy, in spite of his being a Canadian, so I was humbled and amazed at the actions of this fellow. He suffered a wound to one of his eyes that qualified him to go home. He stayed. He was in a Bren carrier that hit a mine. He suffered a back injury and fractures to his ankles and ribs that again could send him home. Yet again, he sayed... deserting so they couldnt send him home. he rejoined his unit after he healed enough to stay. And then, he essentially captured and entire German held city himself, with the support of his good friend who died in the endeavor. Then, after sterling service to his nation, he went back to battle in Korea, and there earned a second DCM for holding back 14,000 Chicom regulars with a scant handful of men.
And I wonder if this sort of conspicuous gallantry exists anymore.
I wonder if, should a call to arms come, whether there are men like Leo Major who would step forward and put the cause of freedom and justice above their own lives and serve and fight and die. I would like to think so. But I just dont know.
Now don't get me wrong. I think the word "Hero" gets overused a lot, but to me every man or woman who endeavours to serve in the defense of their nation is, in a way, heroic. And I am sure some of them will do things that will, in 65 years, be looked back with reverence. But the ambiguity of how and why conflicts happen these days... it isn't quite like WW II when it was easy to point at the Axis powers and ask men to fight and die.
In the end, I will observe a moments silence tomorrow morning and give thanks to those who bought me the right to my wonderful life with their lives. And hope to be a little less cynical about the state of nobility and sacrifice in the makeup of human nature.