It was a different time, a simpler, less connected time devoid of cell phones, television or the Internet. A tablet was a pill, or a proclamation on stone.
However, those who fought in the two World Wars and Korea weren’t confused about why they were putting their lives in danger. They were fighting tyranny and the politics of hate. They were fighting for democracy.
They believed — enough to risk and lay down their lives — the way of life that includes the right to vote and the right to practise the religion of one’s choice was a noble cause.
There were no late-night talk shows from the political right or left. There was only right and wrong. Genocide was wrong. Murder was wrong. Taking over a sovereign country’s land was wrong. Dictators were wrong. A one-party system was wrong.
The men and women of the first half of the 20th century had this kind of clarity. They also believed they needed to stem the tide of the wrong-doers before their actions seeped into countries all over the globe. Without the Internet, they could recognize a global crisis.
Most of all, they had the courage to do something about it. A letter to the editor or firm proclamation from a politician wasn’t going to do the job. They had to fight, risk their lives, and they knew it.
So they did. Fresh-faced teenagers and young adults, hopping aboard a boat for the trip ‘over there.’ It was an adventure for some, and an admirable badge of honour, but we cannot imagine the level of fear in a young man who stormed a beach with bullets flying from all directions.
Thousands upon thousands of Canadians died. And they punched way above their weight, astonishing the British and American allies who eventually figured out if they wanted a tough job done, send in the Canadians.
It’s important today, Remembrance Day, to honour these valiant men and women who served the world so well. We honour them by our presence at cenotaph ceremonies and by wearing a poppy.
We can also honour them this week by remembering one of the major reasons they fought and died in these battles — the right to vote in a democratic election. So, cast your ballot on Saturday.
So many died so you could vote. Will you honour their memory?
Lest We Forget.
— Editorial by John Harding