Sitting on the couch and waiting for the rice to boil, an ol’wives tale, quick-fix that I’m told will cure what ails my dog’s tummy – which suddenly jolted me awake during the night with sound effect that I’d rather not get into but has left both of us traumatized, again – I took the opportunity to check out History Television and its November Remembrance coverage.

To begin, I’m not a big proponent for war. My up-bringing came complete with a “no guns for toys” parental motto and a “no nukes here” sticker attached to the front door.

It also could be that I’m a chick.

The fascination with which my teenage son displays for war, weapons and analyzing ancient battle field strategies often leaves me awestruck by his wealth of knowledge – what’s the deal?

And so I sat on the couch with the dog curled up asleep at my feet and listened to Canadian Veterans discuss battles won, lost and buddies left behind. Honestly, I had no idea?!

Admittedly, my usual exposure to war is through Hollywood-goggles and most often focused on the American experience, whether true or created. I didn’t know Canada’s role in the Bosnian conflict of the 1990’s which changed the significance of UN Peacekeeping operations worldwide, and extends to this day. Neither did anyone, as it turns out, until the early 2000’s when the government finally admitted what had happened and honoured our soldiers in an overdue ceremony.

And I didn’t fully appreciate Canada’s presence in either the First or Second World War until I watched with rapped attention as researchers pieced together footage from the very first battle caught on film in 1916, at the Battle of the Somme. The most amazing part of this documentary was when a lip reader shared what the men where saying as the silent, black and white film flickered – they were worried. At first glace they looked jovial and relaxed but with the lip reader’s help we heard, “I hope this doesn’t amount to much.” Well it did. With most of the men filmed in the trenches or leaning up against a tree not making it past the next hour. Horrible!

However, after taking the time to watch some of History Television's Remembrance documentaries, Canadian pride is swelling in my chest. And I read in today’s newspaper that Canadian soldiers “didn’t shrink from frontline duty,” in the NATO mission in Afghanistan, though we are scheduled to leave in 2011. Love her or hate her, Toronto Star columnist, Rosie DiManno does have a point about what this withdrawal will mean to Afghanistan and the Taliban. Not good!

I’m still not a big fan of war. Of course I wish we could all get along or duke it out with water balloons instead of weapons, but we can’t. But we can at least take the time to discover our own rich history and say “thank you” on Remembrance Day.

Check out History Television’s November line up at:


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