It’s been 100 years since the great Canadian conquest of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Today it’s still a piece of national history and Canadian pride. Four Canadian divisions faced an uphill battle against German troops at Vimy. The goal was to push the German army back from a strategic position along the ridge. A four day offensive led to 3,598 dead, but a major strategic victory for the Allies. It also cemented Canada as a country of its own, rather than just another British colony.
A long time has passed since World War I. And yet, despite being called “The War to End All Wars”, nothing ended. If anything, it began a period human history where war became an ongoing machine, where the our goal was to develop more elaborate methods of killing each other.
As long as people will be around, there will be war. It’s a bitter and inevitable truth. The turn of the 21st century has seen a world wrapped in the shrouds of war and bloodshed. Humanity keeps getting caught in the crossfires. Last week saw a horrific gas attack on civilians in Syria. The world watched, and sighed, and went on with its business. Politicians tsk-ed and waved their fingers and sent their condolence letters (usually consisting of those platitudes like “solidarity” and “sympathies”) without any notion of action. The UN bickered about what to do—ironic considering they were formed in the wake of World War I as a means of preventing horrors like the Syrian chemical attacks, and bringing to justice whoever perpetrated them. And yet, countries like Russia care more about their alliances than the human suffering that dictators like Asad bring on.
Trump used this attack as political leverage to deliver a dig at his predecessor, Barack Obama, before sending a barrage of missiles to the airbase that was home to the planes that commenced the chemical attack. Yet if anyone from Syria tries to seek asylum in the States, they’ll be rejected because of Trump’s orders.
Death and destruction seem to be the order of the day now. The number of casualties and human suffering inflames our rage for only mere moments until disappearing into the ether, like a 5-day old Tweet.
In 100 years from now, who will remember Vimy Ridge? I hope everyone will. I hope people will remember a day that is forever ingrained in our history. I hope people will remember the horrors of The War to End All Wars. I hope that people will remember the hope that followed from that war, hope for a better tomorrow and a better human race.
And I hope that, 100 years from now, we will be able to say we achieved that goal.