Canadian students were in Europe recently commemorating Canada’s war dead which included a massive ceremony at Vimy Ridge.
I would like to remind the students, and for that matter, all of us, that Pierre Berton, a Canadian soldier, officer and also a renowned author, describes the battle of Vimy Ridge in gruesome detail in his book, “Vimy.”
In conclusion he asks, “Was it worth it?”
The battle had cost thousands of limbs, eyes, and lives on both sides. Even relatives had been pitted against each other in this terrible slaughter and, much after the war, as an old German soldier and the son of a Canadian soldier talk about this they agree that the war had been “a terrible waste of human life brought on by greedy people and tolerated for too long by silent majorities.”
To the question, “Was it worth it?” the answer is very clear — “No.” (McClelland et al, Toronto, 1986, pages 307-308). This is a bitter lesson, the students, and the rest of us, should never forget.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 2, 2012