On the eve of the 93rd anniversary of Armistice Day that ended the Great war, I have been thinking about how the world has changed and wondering what my Great Grandfather would think of what is happening these days. He served bravely in Europe, fighting in the trenches along the Western Front, battling the German army and stopping them from advancing further into France. Dressed in a heavy wool over coat, wearing a tin helmet, armed with a bolt action rifle that was prone to jamming and only had a ten shot clip. Rats were infesting the trenches, feeding on the gore that was present. The men were up to there knee is piss, blood and water for days on end, always waiting for the call to go over the top. Dodging barbed wire, machine gun fire and mortars they would try to scramble just a little closer to the German line. One inch at a time. Artillery shell craters would make for decent cover unless another shell hit the same place. I just can not imagine the terror, horror and paranoia that the men felt in that campaign that lasted for four years. The noise, the smells, the lack of sleep and food. Living on cigarettes and the random ration that would make its way to the front line. To say these men were brave in such an understatement.
My Grandfather also served, in World War 2. He spent four years over seas. He signed up to go and fight. It was the right thing to do. It was the duty of every Canadian man who was physically able to go over seas and do their part. These men had honor. They had respect for their country. The freedom of the world was at stake and the fear of the Nazis conquering Europe and Britain brought these men to leave their family and go to an unknown land, with the thought that they would never come home. My Grandpa is my hero. I am so proud that he served over seas for so long, and was able to come back, have a career and raise a family. The emotional damage that was not diagnosed back in those days must have been crippling at times. And might still be.
What would my Great Grandfather would think of our democracy now. How his sacrifice has been taken for granted and forgotten. In my opinion, democracy today gives us the right to vote. But does it do any good? It seems as though the corporations control the government. The wants of these corporations take precedent over the needs of the people who vote. We get taxed so hard and we have such little say in what actually happens in the decision making of the government. Have the corporations become the corrupt governments that started these wars. What will happen when the people have no food, no shelter, no money, no hope. Hitler built up the National Socialist Party and the prosperity of the German economy after the country was decimated following World War 1. The people believed him and all his policies because they were poor, and he gave them hope. Brainwashing, maybe, but could something happen like this again. Times are tough. Could Fascism return? These are questions I cannot answer, but I am curious.
Would my Great Grandfather be embarrassed with how lazy and overweight our society has become. How about the individualism and the shrinking community. He would have thought it absolutely asinine to sit in a car in a traffic jam, to spend time in a gym, riding a stationary bike, then drive thru a restaurant to buy dinner, before going home and sitting in front of the T.V. Where did it go wrong? I feel like we are being sedated with consumerism, junk food, and reality television shows, so we don't see the secrets going on behind closed doors. Media controlled by whom ever owns the paper or website. Where are our freedoms? I am rambling on, but I think you get the point. Millions have died so we can have the freedoms that we have and we are wasting it, and thinking our lives are so terrible. I would NEVER, EVER want to give up my life I have here to go stand in shit and blood for months on end. My life is so great. Thank you Poppa and Grandpa. You are my hero's.
I encourage everyone to bring their children to a Remembrance ceremony tomorrow. This holiday must not go by the wayside. The soldiers must never be forgotten, Ever. It is the only holiday we have that has any real meaning, there is no commercial value. And it should stay that way for time eternal.