Canada’s cult of the soldier continues unabated, but some veterans aren’t playing ball. The Canadian government has agreed to the Dominion Institute’s demand for a state funeral for the last Canadian veteran of the First War, but none of the three remaining veterans wants a state funeral. Veterans Affairs is exploring other, unspecified options, but I wonder what will happen when public opinion clashes with the families’ wishes? Because Canadians are well and truly wallowing in overt displays of support for soldiers of current and past conflicts.
It occurs to me once more that state acts of remembrance (about which I wrote some things a while back) have little to do with the welfare of those remembered. We hold ever-grander ceremonies and fulminate against drunks peeing on memorials, but it’s for our benefit, not veterans’. Wearing red on Fridays, while it may improve soldiers’ morale, doesn’t prevent them from getting killed or improve their care when they come home. All it does is give us a gesture to make without asking too much of us.