Special days, events, their memories, and the aftermath…
We’re being told that shortly after noon today, 8 July, a momentous event will happen. It’s the time and date thing: just after noon it’ll be 12:34:56 7/8/9, and, it’s being touted by ninnies somewhere as one of those happens-once-in-a-lifetime things. In fact, it’ll happen again next month, August 7. Apparently these once-in-a-lifetime events happen, well, often. For example: 01:23:45 6/7/89 . . . 12:34.56 7/8/90 . . . 01:02:03 04/05/06, and in a couple of years we’ll have 11:11:11 11/11/11.
It’s actually a defenestrate moment. Defenestrate came in the e-mail following one with Kevin Meyers’ article in it, and it hit the nail on the ninnies’ head today: “To throw someone or something out of a window.”
Last week, this space in the News was blank, because I thought copyright could be thrown out the window once a piece had circled the globe on the internet a few times.
An article written by Meyers in London’s Sunday Telegraph on 11 November, 2008, was very complimentary about us—Canada and Canadians.
It was a good pat on the back for Canada Day. I tossed it on Richard Mostyn’s desk, and went Outside for a family reunion. In so doing, I joined the ninnies crowd, since ‘defenestrate’ came in again. He had to toss it out the window because it infringed copyright rules. So much for getting my exercise jumping to conclusions.
Meyers’ piece got my attention because he wrote, “It seems that Canada’s historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored,” and, he added, “Many of the great allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops, perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.”
He includes some facts students in four of our provinces, and perhaps more, will never stumble across because we have four provinces where history is not a subject required for graduation into university. This embarrassing fact, and the following facts we’ve cited here before, were also cited by Meyers: almost 10 per cent of Canada’s entire population of 7 million served in the armed forces in the First World War, and 60,000 died.
For our Second World War record, when the war began our navy had less than a half-dozen vessels, but we ended it with the third-largest navy, as well as the fourth-largest air force in the world suggesting our two-bits’ worth, as hinted by some, was a heck of a lot more than many others’.
I agree wholeheartedly with Meyers’ statement that, “Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, its unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular memory as somehow or other the work of the ‘British.’ And the Americans too, Meyers, let us not forget that!
It’s rather sporting, is it not, for a Brit to finally acknowledge our two-bits’ worth? (I’m being the typical polite Canadian; I’m really thinking it’s about bloody well time.)
Risking copyright again, Meyers said what we’ve all thought … “as always, Canada will bury its dead, just as the rest of the world, as always, will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does. It seems that Canada ‘s historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored.”
What it boils down to is that our one per cent of the world’s population continually puts our warriors on the line, generation after generation. Canucks, like Brits and Yanks, do our share, and if Meyers is right, and I think he is, sometimes we do more than our share, per capita.
To quote someone, representing a generation of our Global Village, who, we pray, will not be faced with war, a grandson who, when asked about one of his habits, simply replied, “Because that’s the way I be!”
Well, when it comes to defending freedom and democracy, “That’s the way we Canucks be!”
Belated Happy Canada Day greetings, and another to our Alaskan friends and neighbours on their Independence Day last weekend!