By Cecilia Nasmith
“Ottawa is doing a lousy job of honouring Canada's fallen from WWI,” said the headline atop the Macleans Magazine on-line editorial.
But the writer goes on to say Cobourg is acing the task with its Armistice 18 commemorations – and that this small Ontario town is doing more to honour the centennial of the Great War's end than the entire Federal government.
In short, small-town Cobourg can boast one very big thing: the ability properly to appreciate and respect the nation's history.
Historian Hugh Brewster (who wrote Last Day, Last Hour about the famous libel suit occasioned by an editorial on Sir Arthur Currie's command during the closing days of the war) offered his comments, mentioning art exhibits, stage presentations, concerts, sold-out speakers, walking tours and other commemorations with pride.
The editorial set out commemorations being undertaken by a number of other nations who fought the war that claimed 66,349 Canadian lives – processions, tours and even a peace summit.
Back home, Fredericton is hosting a nightly bagpipe performance called 100 Laments, but little else of such scope is being undertaken – and certainly nothing by the Federal government on that scale.
More Canadian soldiers died in that war than in all other wars combined, the write-up said.
It also quoted one of those speakers who are part of the Cobourg's Armistice events, military historian Jack Granatstein – who insisted Canada's military prowess paid a large part in the capitulation of the Kaiser's forces 100 years ago Nov. 11. Without that contribution, Granatstein said, the war would have dragged on.
It's a moment Canadians can take rightful pride in, and Cobourg's communications manager Ashley Purdy is delighted the town's commemorations are being noted and commended.
“This an incredible moment, truly putting Cobourg on the map and highlighting all of our efforts with Armistice18, but most importantly our public pride in Canada’s military,” Purdy said.