I get it that some people don't like to "glorify" war.
Neither do I.
Neither does anyone with half a brain.
War is hell.
Don't take my word for it. Those words were famously uttered by General William Tecumseh Sherman nearly a century and a half ago.
And indeed, he didn't know the half of it. Kind of ironic, actually: he thought wars were so hellish that it was important to go all out, to end them as quickly as possible.
Consequently, as an early proponent of the concept of "total war," he was actually one of the guys who made it even more hellish than it had been before his time.
But if he didn't know the half of it, he surely knew more than I.
In fact, unless you're a lot older than I am - and you didn't grow up in Canada - chances are pretty good that you have no idea what war is like.
And I'm proud of that. I'm proud that very few Canadians truly understand the hell of war.
I'm proud that we have had very little to do with war for the past six decades or more.
Yes, there was the hell of Korea.
And the Persian Gulf.
And now Afghanistan.
Although it's somehow easy to dismiss the latter from our everyday consciousness - it's such a long way away from here, and after all, we lost more soldiers in single battles in the First and Second World Wars than we have in the entire Afghanistan action - it remains perpetually real for those who have been physically or mentally assaulted by that particular hell.
That's the thing of it. Even relatively "little" wars are full-sized for those who die.
And for those they leave behind. Nevertheless, I have to admit a bit of guilty pride at the inexperience that allows us dismiss the idea of war so easily.
But it scares me a little, too. It's pretty clear that folks like Stephen Harper don't truly understand the hell of war.
Like me, there's no doubt that he has heard some pretty gruesome stories about what happens in war.
Like me, he's probably seen some gritty documentaries about war.
Like me, he's certainly run into a few people
who have been there - maybe even lost a limb or two - with incredible tales to tell about the hell of war.
Incredibly harsh tales. Incredibly dangerous tales. Incredibly heroic tales.
Incredibly sad tales. But like me, and surely most of our MPs, on both the government and opposition sides of the House of Commons, he can't really know.
Because like me, he's never been there. I'll admit my pride in our warlessness.
I freely admit to my pride in the readiness of our armed forces to stand up and be counted when we need them to deal with natural disasters, whether at home or abroad. (Yes, I know their equipment is not always up to snuff - but they themselves are - and I'm proud of that.)
And I'll even admit my pride in the exemplary service that our armed forces bring to other parts of the world when the disasters are caused - sometimes even engineered - by stupid politicians and others who clearly don't have a full understanding of the hell of war.
I don't always agree with what they're asked to do. But I'm proud that they do it so well.
Those are some of the things I think about on Remembrance Day each year.
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