Thursday November 11, 2021
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday November 11, 2021
Remembrance Day should only be about remembrance
In no small irony in the context of today’s ridiculousness, we owe a debt to the world wars for the advancement of vaccines.
Prior to the Second World War, soldiers were as likely to die from disease as battlefield injuries — a five-to-one ratio in the Spanish-American War and a two-to-one ratio in the American civil war, according to a piece on theconversation.com . And then came the outbreak of the 1918 Spanish flu that “accounted for roughly half of U.S. military casualties in Europe.”
By the Second World War, the American army “forged a new partnership with industry and academia” that resulted in the development of the flu vaccine and “targeted influenza, bacterial meningitis, bacterial pneumonia, measles, mumps, neurotropic diseases, tropical diseases and acute respiratory diseases,” according to The Conservation article by Kendall Hoyt, an assistant professor of medicine at Dartmouth College.
This victory in the advancement of science is a lesson that needs to be applied today. However, we also shouldn’t lose sight of the soldiers of days gone by who rolled up their sleeves like they always did in service of a greater good.
They didn’t blink at the notion of taking an “experimental” vaccine that most of them surely would have thought was of less consequence than the bullets whizzing by. As Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe noted this summer while encouraging today’s generation to get vaccinated: “We’re not asking you to storm the beaches of Normandy.”
Now, think back to just one year ago when these now 90-year-old men and women — all masked, because this is what we asked them and everyone else to do — stood without complaint in the cold in front of cenotaphs across this nation to honour those who they left behind so many years ago.
They will do the same thing in this second pandemic Remembrance Day. They will do this for as long as they can … which, sadly for us, won’t be much longer.
They will soon be gone, but we should always honour their duty and decency on Nov. 11. This day should never be co-opted for some other cause or political message.
The thought crosses one’s mind this Remembrance Day for several reasons — the most significant being the disgustingly hideous memes and social media messages floating around the Internet tying the sacrifice of these men and women to the “freedom” of not getting vaccinated.
This is actually the antithesis of the what the greatest of generations stood for when they went overseas and fought and died to preserve our values, freedoms and way of life. Their sacrifices are why idiots of today get to wrap themselves with the flag and say pretty much whatever they please without repercussion.
But no one gets to say they are doing this on behalf of veterans or those who died for freedom. (Continued: Regina Leader-Post)