Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Vimy@100 +2 days

Sunday's much televised Vimy commemorations were impressive, though Jamie Swift observed on As it Happens that they seemed much more about patriotism and service than about peace and mourning.
During those [1938] ceremonies, Winnipeg settler Charlotte Susan Wood, who lost all five of her sons to war, and her youngest to Vimy, laid a wreath at London's Westminster Abbey. In that moment, she reportedly asked King Edward VIII: "Why did so many have to die?"
"Please God, Mrs. Wood, it shall never happen again," he responded.

Those kinds of stories have been "noticeably absent in the past few days around the Vimy centenary," Swift said.

"That questioning, that why, that I think Walter Allward shared and so many others shared, seems to have been airbrushed from the commemoration," Swift said.
Still I was struck that Jack Granatstein and Tim Cook and, as far as I saw, every historian involved with the centenary specifically rejected the claim that "Canada was born at Vimy."  That is a consequence of a couple of decades of historical discussion, now decisively closed, I think, at least among historians. (Anniversaries can be teaching moments.)

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