I can no longer pass Remembrance Day without shedding a tear. As years go by you hear more and more stories of how these wars affected people, nations, families. The horror that so many lived through, and died in, is virtually incalculable. It’s tragedy and courage which is incomprehensible to me, who never had to endure this sort of thing.
I believe there are only five veterans of WWI still alive in Canada. All over 100 years old. That war occurred nearly 100 years ago. The war to end all wars. It’s hard to comprehend the conditions those soldiers must have experienced. And WWII is sixty years old this year, a whole new level of horror built of steel and chemicals and atomic energy. Human flesh was never meant to stand against this. It’s remarkable that human spirit can do so.
Still, I heard another important bit of war history on CBC today. The number of US soldiers killed in Vietnam was eventually surpassed by the number of veterans who returned from Vietnam and ultimately committed suicide.
One final thing. The mayor of Toronto said something profound this morning at the remembrance service there: That phrase, “the war to end all wars”, still resonates with us. What we need is a peace to end all wars.