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Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Why the hell would I kill this kid" One Canadian Veteran Remembers the Horror of War.

I have never been one to fully embrace Remembrance day. I find, oddly enough, there to be to much glorification of war within this day. Do not think me to be ungrateful or disrespectful to those who gave and give their lives, but I shudder and my insides wrench when I think of all that went into and makes up war. While I am thankful for the benefits and freedoms that we all share in, I struggle to embrace the idea that we gained these because of war. Could we not have done so without war? 

On days like Remembrance day, we tend to become overly patriotic, as if being Canadian, American or British is what won us the war. As if being these things gained us some sort of right to be human, or worse, be winners of some sort of game. I can not emphasize enough that there are no winners in war. 
We tend to think of other nationalities as the opposers, the enemy or those to be conquered. We tend to bunch all the Germans into the category of being those 'evil Nazi's'. While we are not the only ones guilty of this type of thinking, we all have the tendency to bunch a community, culture and/or nation into one category. On Remembrance day we remember the fallen soldiers, we recall the stories, and we honour the sacrifice. However, on Remembrance day we often forget that we are all human and that we all share in on this same humanity. On Remembrance day we must remember that all are children of God, including our enemies. We must love them and also remember them, for they hunger, thirst and bleed as we all do. 

The following is an excerpt of an article from the National Post( Article)sharing a perspective I have not ever heard during this time of year, Remembrance Day. If you enjoy it please click the above link to continue reading the story.

"Why the hell would I kill this kid?": One Canadian Veteran Remembers the Horror of War

It is the strangest thing, Frank Johnson tells me, a memory he can’t shake because he can’t make sense of it, can’t understand why what happened to him on that long ago day in wartime Germany happened the way it did.
Here he was, you see, old Frankie Johnson — Johnny to his fighter pilot pals — shot to bits after being shot down over Germany on March 30, 1945. His back was busted, there was shrapnel in his right shin, a bullet in his left hip and he was bleeding from his forehead and covered in mud and blood and aircraft oil.
He was a “goddamn mess,” he says, and he didn’t really care whether he lived or died since he felt like he was already dying anyway. But a German farmer’s wife, some middle-aged lady, she cared whether he lived or died and she took a shot-up enemy fighter pilot who was dumped on her doorstep by two German soldiers and cleaned his wounds. 
Washed his entire body like she was washing her own “goddamn son,” Mr. Johnson says, like it didn’t matter one slice that old Johnny boy had spent the war taking out “German targets” and killing God knows how many Germans along the way with his Hawker Typhoon fighter plane.

“What gets to me, what really gets to me,” Mr. Johnson thunders, in a voice made for radio even though he sold insurance for most of his post-war life, “is when people go on about the German people and how awful they were. Yes, there were the real Nazis and the Gestapo, and they were nasty pieces of work, but the ordinary Germans in the countryside were just like you and me — and I don’t think they really knew what the hell the war was about..........................