Remembrance Day 2009

I have a learner reading The Death of Isaac Brock. This small book was written by Pierre Berton specifically for students, and is part of his History for Young Canadians series. The content for this book comes mainly from his book The Invasion Of Canada about the war of 1812. The former book is short and entertaining, but not "low level" by any means. Still, I wish I had the full set. (While we're wishing, I also wish I had a complete set of Gwynne Dyer's The Defense of Canada CBC mini-series from 1985. I don't like using films in class, but this might be the exception.)

And that's it for Remembrance Day related activity. We talked a little in class. Some people didn't know what the word cenotaph meant. The 11th hour of the 11th day bit and its origins in WW1 was something else some of them hadn't heard before.

I think the most challenging part of these conversations is when my adult learners ask about our present involvement in Afghanistan. Like many Canadians, they wonder why we went there, why we're still there, what we're doing there, and what we're trying to do there. Like many Canadians, I don't feel able to answer any of those questions to my own satisfaction.

As for my own remembrances I'll watch the ceremonies from Ottawa, and spend part of the day with David's Halberstam's history of the Korean War titled The Coldest Winter. Though, really, the day isn't that special to me. It's impossible to talk about Canadian history, as I do each day in class, and not talk a little about one of the wars. Too, news from Afghanistan - slender as it is - makes up part of my daily online reading. So, every day I think and worry about the Canadian Forces and the generals and politicians who use them.

We're a democracy, which means we the people are responsible for our leaders. We're a democracy, and we have troops in the field.

How could anyone forget?

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