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Reviving Canadian history/heroes

There was a nice editorial in the Star yesterday talking about how one of Canada’s war heroes from World War I, Lt-Colonel William Barker, is finally getting some modest recognition to his feats (a gravestone with a plane propeller etched in it) after years of neglect and forgetfulness. I’ll admit I’d never heard of Colonel Barker either until recently, and I’m one that takes a keen interest in Canadian history as well as obviously political science. This to me seems only a modest first step for reviving Colonel Barker in the collective Canadian conscience. It would be nice perhaps to do something more – how about re-telling his story to Canadians when they’re all watching on Remembrance Day, for starters?

Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative government are apparently keen to revive old historical ties and remind Canadians of our historical links to Britain – hence the revival of the “Royal” moniker for the Air Force and Navy. I think a much better agenda would be to properly honour our old war heroes like Colonel Barker, and make a collective effort to educate Canadians about them. That would be a worthy effort of this government’s time, for as the Star says:

Barker is not our only neglected military hero. More than 90 Canadians have won the Victoria Cross, starting with Alexander Dunn at the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854. Yet few Canadians can recall any except perhaps Bishop. That’s deplorable. When we forget our heroes, we forget our bravest and our best.

If Harper wants Canadians to remember their history, how about starting with our heroes at home?

2 comments to Reviving Canadian history/heroes

  • stan

    Oh please, if he did that you would be bitching about him glorifying war..
    Try a little sophistication in your thinking, your simplistic Pavlov’s dog imitation is getting old.

  • There was a two page feature in the Globe & Mail yesterday on Lt-Colonel Barker (whom I’d never heard of before). Quite an amazing life story… unfortunately, with a rather tragic ending.

    I’m not sure however that the government should be in the business of reviving the memory of dead war heroes from the past.

    Let’s also not forget that WWI was an incredibly futile affair, memorable more for its appallingly senseless carnage on a mass scale than for the individual combat heroics of a stellar flying ace.

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