Men of War

This is not the first time I’ve dealt with this subject. Years ago on one of my many drives back and forth between Brampton and Westbank (now West Kelowna) I used my personal recorder to talk about my trip but, more importantly, to just express my thoughts on a number of topics. It was more than a forty hour drive and I love to talk, so it got pretty deep at times. One of the subjects was why men go off to war.

Although I had, thankfully, never experienced war, both Dad and my Granddad had. My grandfather had served and had been left with a plate in his forehead. I remember talking about it when he visited us at the farm in Streetsville one time, but I don’t remember how he got it. My Dad served in the navy in the second world war. He lied about this age and signed up underage, which was one of the things I did not understand at the time. His ship, the HMS Skeena was lost in a vicious storm in October, 1944. For some unknown reason my father said the ship had been torpedoed. He ended up in the freezing cold water off the coast of Iceland, watching his buddies around him die. Somehow he ended up on shore where he was stung by a rattlesnake, eventually losing one of his fingers because of it.

When I returned to BC I went through the lengthy process of transcribing my voice recordings to my computer then printed out this massive document, called My Body Time because that would be the preamble every time I started recording as I traveled across Canada through different time zones. My Dad actually read it and said he learned a lot about me. Whatever happened to that manuscript I don’t know. What I do know and regret is that the Word doc didn’t follow me to other computers. Given the mess I am in now I don’t know if reading it would help or make things worse. At least back then I had a future.

An entire chapter in the novel was about war. At the time I was still married and had two kids. I wondered if I was called to duty, first, would I go and, second, how could we survive being separated possibly for years? The very possibility of being killed was enough to make me question why I would go. I can only assume that the threat of losing your freedom would convince you to fight and risk your life. That so many women suffered through every single day wondering if their men were coming home is just unbelievable.

With so many nutcase leaders in the world today how would we react to that same threat of war? The entire technology of war has changed a lot. Pushing a coupe of buttons would wipe us all out.  No need to fight it out in the trenches like previous wars. What if there was an imminent ground invasion though, say Kim Jong-Un of North Korea? Given his military strength as compared to the US it would be more of a minor skirmish solved quickly. Hypothetically he decides to invade Mexico to get closer to threatening the US. I am a Canadian but would I sign up to defend Mexico? Well, luckily I am far too old to sign up for anything in the military so it’s academic. If I were a younger man, in all honesty, I don’t know.

Much of my confusion about war has always been, and will always be, how so many wars are based on religion. Admittedly I have never been a religious person but if I understand anything about faith I don’t understand why so many of the world’s wars are all about religion.

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