Today is a great day to reflect.
If you are were born in the last 40 years (like me) you might have grown up not understanding the totality and importance of the first two World Wars. Certainly, understanding our history will tell us the most about where we are heading.
When I was I growing up in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia I remember each Remembrance Day as it were with light discussion in the classrooms on the importance of remembering the men and women who fought for our freedom, followed by a ritualistic ceremony with a small handful War survivors who were about 70- 80 years my elder. If any particular part of the war were described it was in the safest and most mild version acceptable to pass down to elementary and middle school children. The whole thing was hard to grasp in part because of the lack of closeness to the subject. When you are twelve years old day-dreaming about girls, Wrestling, The Simpsons, or loading your favourite video game it’s hard to fathom that only 40-50 years prior millions of our ancestors were slaughtered in the most devastating depths of depravity the modern world has ever known. Although some of the survivors were still alive (in my childhood) and a few good people like Joe Bishara of Yarmouth, NS worked to bring cultural significance to the subject, there was a complete disconnect, for me.
Attending a Remembrance Day ceremony felt like going to church or watching my sisters dance recital. There was no part of it that could hold the attention of my over-sugared, A.D.D, corn starchy developing brain stem. I can’t pinpoint exactly what the disconnect was, if it wasn’t selfishness, perhaps it was a hybrid of being a privileged spoiled brat in cozy middle North America.
About a year ago this all changed for me when I discovered a podcast by Dan Carlin (who’s ancestors settled in Nova Scotia, Canada). The podcast is called Hardcore History (https://www.facebook.com/HardcoreHistory) where Dan produces 2-3 hour long episodes walking the listener through, among other things, World War 1 & 2. He does so in a way that finally connected with me, and it was the first time I began to realize what I had never considered. The first two World Wars were not wars, they were missions to and from Hell. The battles (if you call them battles, not massacres) pushed humanity to endure what it will likely never have to endure again.
I’m still shocked on this Remembrance Day / Veterans Day that I lived 30 years without every understanding the totality and importance of these wars and how much having a grasp on them helps to explain the world I am currently living in.
If you are shut in today, can’t leave the house or have a long commute, I would highly recommend to check out one of Dan’s Hardcore History podcasts which walk you through these wars in Tom Clancy fashion with every last detail in tact.
If you are anything like me you might learn a lot more than you will couched in front of CTV or the CBC watching the celebrations and commemorations happening across the country. This is just my opinion and I am in no way affiliated with Dan Carlin, nor do I have any discordance with memorial services happening in Canada today (which are important and culturally significant).
The first episode of his series Blueprint for Armageddon is available for FREE to stream via iTunes or download directly from his site here:
There are four or five episodes in this series and part 1 is a great beginning with how World War 1 started, on an ordinary day just outside a small cafe in Sarajevo.
Thank you to all the veterans including my great uncle Don Cook who never returned from WW2.