If Ye Break Faith

This blog is dedicated to the promotion of educating about the Canadian experience of World War One. To discover who we are as a nation in the 21st Century, we must understand our past.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

We Few, We Happy Few

It has been a tough summer.  Attempting to introduce a new concept in specialty travel through Spirit of Remembrance has played both to my greatest strengths as well as some shortcomings.  Despite this, I strongly believe in what I've been tasked to to; have had some wins with prospective clients and building a system of operations.  There still is a lot of work to do, and that just gets me excited as to what the future holds.

If it has ever been your desire to walk through our country's war experience, there is no other firm that can bring you exactly the trip you intend to take, either one of our established offerings or a tour that we can help you build from the ground up.  For further information, please follow the link above or contact me via my office email.  I encourage you all to pay close attention because we are working towards some exciting new all-Canadian offerings.

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It has been, thought, a hard slog, and I've come close to giving up a couple of occasions.  What as kept me going, beyond opportunity to work with a firm that suits my talents, or monetary reward, is that I've got good friends to call upon when I feel at a low ebb.  There should be no surprise that many of those friends also have a military background.

This level of camaraderie is difficult to find outside of a service history.  Reason  being is that each one of us knows more than the average person that the value of individual is substantially less than that of the group; whether that be the section, platoon, company or regiment.  So when I call upon my friends to help me out, they do so not only because they desire to help a fellow soldier, but by making me stronger and more capable benefits all of us on the whole; a process of of forging strength into weak links.

Which brings me back to a question I, and am certain many others have asked- How did the men endure the  absolute Fifth Ring of Hell that was the Western Front of 14-18?

After the bunting came down, the flowers thrown at departing trains and the songs of bravado sung inspiring the population to the political necessity of the war faded, what was left to inspire human beings to go through the horrors of the battlefield, whether it be Badajoz, Beaumont-Hamel or Baghdad?  Simple answer- one looks to their left and then to their right.  These are the men with whom intimate experiences under extreme conditions are had.  At this microcosm, higher ideals of King, country and democracy are too lofty and removed to think about.  One carries on because he expects the same from his mates as much s they expect from him-that they will not let themselves down, and will not let their comrades down.

This reason alone is why one will charge a machine gun or fall onto a grenade.  Not for personal glory, adulation or medals, but because the belief is that one's life has less value than that of the group to which one belongs; and everything must be done for the best interest of the many, even if that means the individual must be sacrificed.

No man is an island, and adversity shared is adversity easily overcome.  I'm not the sort that makes friends easily, but I know, sure as I know anything that if I ever find myself facing a problem too overwhelming to cope with on my own, all I have to do is ask for help from my old comrades, and they will come through for me because they know I'd do the same.

The military, despite its purpose and direction of violence teaches us more about cooperative humanity than can be found elsewhere.

As a special note, for those that have helped me overcome a tough time, I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to Matt B., Tony B., Shannon B. & Ian T.  Thanks, mates, for carrying me for when I couldn't carry myself. Above all, to my old and continuing comrades with the 48th Highlanders, who first showed me the value of such a lesson.

Take a moment, if you could to think of a topic you'd like to see presented in this column.  Send your suggestions in the comments below.  With Remembrance Week 7 weeks away, let's get some real interesting discussion topics we can all put thought towards.

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