Memories of Remembrance Days past

Nov 11th, 2016 | By | Category: In Brief

Harold Innis, later first Canadian president of the American Economic Association, 1952. With the Fourth Battery of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Western Europe during the First World War, 1916.

A review of past counterweights postings on or near November 11 – since our humble beginnings in 2004 – suggests that it took the increasingly extended Canadian involvement in Afghanistan to finally spark our interest in Remembrance Day commemorations.

As best we can tell on some quick forays through the bulging accumulated material in “Browse Archives,” we first dealt directly with Remembrance Day in 2010.  Then we had something on the subject for 2011, 2012, and 2013 as well. But there has been nothing since 2013, and we did nothing before 2010.

As already half-noted, in 2010 and 2011 current Canadian military action in Afghanistan was the great inspiration for our Remembrance Day coverage. (For those who may not be quite old enough to remember, the annual commemoration began after the First World War, which ended on November 11, 1918, in a railroad car outside Compiègne, France.)

In 2011 and 2013 our coverage also made some reference to Canada’s current most populous metropolis of Toronto (it used to be Montreal, and may eventually be Vancouver, or Calgary?), and to “O Valiant Hearts” – still in our view the most poignant and beautiful “hymn remembering the fallen of the First World War.”

In 2012, in the midst of other concerns, we offered a quick bow to a November 9 Toronto Star column by Joe Fiorito, honouring the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion (aka Mac Paps) – Canada’s volunteer military force on the side of the free and democratic society in the Spanish Civil War, 1936—1939.

Canadians at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, March 16, 2011.

For Remembrance Day 2016 here are links to all our earlier postings : “Afghanistan agony haunts November 11, 2010” ; “O valiant hearts .. remembering the Toronto we love to hate, and all who have served in Afghanistan” (2011) ; “Abandoning Lindsay Lohan and Paulina Gretzky for the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War” (2012, scroll down for Mac Paps) ; and “O valiant [Toronto] hearts who to your glory came, your memory hallowed in the land you loved” (2013).

Several of us watched parts of the 2016 commemorations in Ottawa, on the big TV in the office communications centre. Everyone agreed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire distinguish us on such occasions Рyet another good reason to live in Canada, in the far north of North America. Prot̩gera nos foyers et nos droits.

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