On this day, Remembrance Day, I feel a mixture of gratitude and inferiority.
I was born toward the end of World War Two. Many of the pictures of both my mother’s and father’s families show men and women dressed in uniforms of the armed forces. They served their country courageously.
When I was of university age, the great armed conflict of the time was the Vietnam War. Living in the United States, I was exposed daily to the tragic divisiveness of that war. I covered the debates and protest rallies for the campus newspaper. I lived with students whose greatest fear was losing their student status and being drafted. At least one of those friends did just that, and was shot dead by the Viet Cong as he jumped out of a helicopter.
Some Canadians served in Vietnam, but I never had the slightest urge to sign up.
I’m long past the age where I will be called upon to fight for my country. By virtue of time of birth and circumstances, I’ve escaped any possibility of having to kill another human being, or of being injured physically or scarred psychologically by going into battle.
Words can’t describe my admiration for those who did go to war, and those who do so even today. And I can’t help but feel unworthy beside them.