Hey You! Yes, You People!

Yes, I’m using the analogy of Don Cherry. No, I’m not using it in a racist way… although I am convinced that some will claim knowing better than I do and will put intent in my action or, in this case, in my writing. But it got your attention, didn’t it? If you’ve made it this far, you might as well continue reading as there is a very, very important message in this article. One that I hope you will apply, one that I hope you will teach your kids. It’s one of tradition but mostly, a message of… perspective.

“Imagine you were born in 1900. On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war.

Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.

On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.

When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet. And don’t try to catch your breath. On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.

At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish.

At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict.
On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, should have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening.

When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that?

When you were a kid in 1985 and didn’t think your 85 year old grandparent understood how hard school was. And how mean that kid in your class was. Yet they survived through everything listed above.

Perspective is an amazing art, refined as time goes on, and enlightening like you wouldn’t believe. Let’s try and keep things in perspective.”

Sometimes I sit and wonder… What will our kids tell their children? “You know, when I was your age, they forced us to wear a mask in public places like the grocery store!” Or… “You know at your age, the internet would cut off once in a while!” or “My favourite team’s GM traded my favourite player!”…

So let’s get a grip and look at the sacrifice(s) we have to make, then think of all the freedom we benefit from. Think of why you have what you call freedom of speech, the right to be free, the right to opportunities, schooling, medical systems, electricity and access to all sorts of food and other luxuries.

Then compare that to your grandparents or great-grandparents. If you can’t be thankful after doing that exercise, there’s no hope for you, ungrateful spoiled brats! The fact is, I do know that most people, young and old, appreciate what we have in this great country. And I also know that most respect the men and women in uniform, the military, police forces and other first responders. Appreciate the sacrifices they make to allow us to feel protected and cared for. And understand that PTSD is a harsh reality for those people. Let’s stop driving those people to suicide. Instead, lend them a hand. Let’s remember those who have lost their life in the line of duty, and think about their crushed families who are living without their loved one(s) because… “they were doing their job.” Show your support. Show compassion, sympathy or, if you’re capable of it, empathy.

So people… yes YOU PEOPLE, no matter your race, your religion or the colour of your skin… if you live in this amazing country that we call Canada, what’s a couple of bucks a year for a poppy? Why not wear it proudly once a year? If you are fortunate to be a little bit well off financially, what’s a couple of bucks to the Legion? If you’re dead broke, how much is a kind word or two to our people in uniform instead of pouncing on every mistake one of them makes under immense pressure? Is that too much to ask? If it is, allow me to suggest that perhaps, you’re in the wrong country… Lest We Forget.

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