Tuesday, January 02, 2007

State Funerals for WWI Veterans

I'm not entirely surprised that the last three remaining veterans from WWI are all not entirely comfortable with the idea of accepting a state funeral should they turn out to be the last survivor. Anybody with a reasonable sense of modesty would probably have trouble accepting such an honour, so their positions on this are understandable.

But I do think it's a good idea (personally, I think all three should be given the state funerals at this point), and so perhaps it could be conveyed to the last few veterans in a different manner; that the state funeral is as much for all of the Canadian veterans of WWI, and an important part of the nations appreciation and commemoration of their sacrifice. We're not asking that they agree to this for their own glorification, but rather that they consider this a last act of service.

This is not to say that they owe us any further service at this point, but rather that it would serve as an important touchstone for the current generations, the younger of which know so little of this important chapter in our history, which to them must seem as distant as the Napoleonic wars are to us. This may be one of the last opportunities to convey to that young cohort the significance of what that past generation gave during that terrible time, and what a burden they carried for us.

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