Remembrance day poppy icon and slogan

What is it about folks (usually younger males, unfortunately) who have no respect for history? They’re everywhere – in schools, in the mall, in the media, sitting beside you on the bus. The desecration of monuments in Calgary and Toronto, the thefts of donation boxes filled with poppies and coins intended for veterans, sickens me.  I’ve seen fewer poppies being worn as well. That’s so very sad.

In 1905, George Santayana wrote in The Life of Reason: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

It seems that some folks have lost sight (if they ever had it) of what’s important and how they came to have the freedom to squat, without permit or real purpose, in public parks complaining about – what? The freedom to not work and make a meaningful contribution to the country that delivers their education, health care, social services and a justice system without patronage or bribery. The freedom to espouse inflammatory views and intolerance and be tolerated. The freedom to be pacifists, to choose not to vote in our democracy and the option to be inadequate and incompetent ‘members’ of our society.

Veterans fought and died for what they believed in. If these goofs don’t know what was happening in Europe in the early part of the last century, perhaps our school systems have failed. Failed because they haven’t exposed them to what happened in this world, starting with circumnavigation of the globe, the inventions of weapons, scientific discoveries, the Gutenberg press and the cultural, social and battle exploits of the Greeks and Romans, the Huns and Goths, the Crusades and global conflicts of the past and today. It’s not required that you agree with what happened – you have to know about it and begin to comprehend the complexities that led to war. Examine the events and respect those who made those choices. You have to understand that what we have now, is what people are dying for today in Africa and the Middle East.

We enjoy peace because there were wars – that’s our history. Version III of a popular ‘war game’ was released today and there were line ups to buy this $200 atrocity. If these loogans have so much disposable income, why couldn’t they made a matching donation to support those who gave up their youth to safeguard our freedoms? Many of them – my Dad included – lied about their age so that they could enlist and fight for something they believed in. Like so many of those brave men and women, he returned to his family broken by the horrors of what he’d seen, but he was so glad to be alive and proud to have made a difference. They didn’t whine about ‘what’s in it for me’, or refuse to go because of the mud and deprivation and crippling fear. They went. They did what they had to do.

We still have young men and women doing that today. But it seems some in our society take their sacrifices for granted. Perhaps we should have some type of compulsory community service, where before you receive your high school graduation diploma, you have to successfully complete some charitable, meaningful, hands on volunteering projects. Not for a paltry 40 hours, but for 400 hours. Not taking tickets at a flower show or shelving library books, but in an Aboriginal community or a food bank or serving meals at a mission. Earn the right to be a full member of society by learning what it’s like to live in another context, one that’s not comfy.

Is this happening because we no longer have durable heroes who  do something meaningful (without a basketball or a microphone or an illegal handgun)? Perhaps if history was made into a video game with pyrotechnics and point-counts, it would be more attractive to these small-brained, pampered, thoughtless idiots.