We remember


It is Remembrance Day here in Canada and Veteran’s Day in the US. It’s hard to know how to acknowledge this occasion in the blogging world, but we must try.

I guess remembering is the thing. Last year, I was walking in Parc Outremont in Montreal. And I noticed a war memorial there which contained the name “A P McCraken.” A relative?” I wondered, and looked him up on the Canadian Virtual War memorial site. No mention. “What,” I wondered, “if they got his name wrong,” and sure enough there was an entry for “A P McCracken.”

I send this message to the deputy minister in charge of war memorials:

Dear Mr. Stagg,

I am writing to request your assistance.

Recently, I noticed that the War Memorial at Parc Outremont in Montreal shows a misspelling of the name of one of the people it was designed to memorialize. The memorial lists “A P McCraken” as one of the airmen who died serving in Europe during World War II. His name ought to be spelled “A P McCracken.” (I include below the relevant clipping from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial Site.)

It is, of course, unusually sad that someone who has given his life for his country ought to be misrepresented in this way. I am writing to ask what measures your office might take to remedy the situation. I am happy to make a financial contribution to help defray the costs of restoration.

I received this note from a representative of the Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs in response

Regarding the war memorial at Parc Outremont, VAC [Veteran Affairs Canada] is not in guardianship of this monument and therefore, can undertake no remedial action on the plaque. The town of Outremont or the city of Montréal have the responsibility of this memorial and plaque, and therefore, your concerns should be directed to them.

I remembered living in Boston, downtown, several years before. Within a half-mile, one can find memorials for all the American military engagements. It is a stunning and sobering recitation of how often the US has gone to war and how dearly it has paid the price. I am guessing that if someone were to find a misspelling on one of these plaques, the matter would be put right with military efficiency and a minimum of bureaucratic dodge and weave.

These days, we are encouraged to have our doubts about the nation state as a useful way of organizing human affairs. But as long this is the “unit of analysis,” let us honor those who die for it (and beyond). It is impossible to say what we owe them. We remember.

3 thoughts on “We remember

  1. Karl Moore

    Grant, love your blog, I ignored putting the kids to bed while I kept reading. I will drop in from time to time in the future. Give me a call.


  2. Dave

    I have enjoyed sharing the past half-hour with you and your readers/contributors. I’m preparing a response to your cultural critique of the left, which, as someone in the political wilderness (hence the website name), I deeply appreciate. Please visit my site, link to it if you see fit, and keep up the good work.



  3. Colin

    There are far greater insults to memories of our veterans than name misspellings on plaques. No one should forget the name Andre Bellevance, Bloc Quebecois member for Richmond-Arthabasca. This particular individual felt that being a member of the BQ caucus was inconsistent with respecting the Canadian flag, and refused to hand out flags to local veterans.

    Compounding matters, his fearless leader Gilles Duceppe attempted to defend M. Bellevance’s conduct. The behaviour of both is despicable. Tens of thousands of Canadians, many of them from La Belle Province, died during the 20th C world wars to preserve the freedoms that these two Bloc-heads claim to revere.

    Some time ago on this website, there was much sound and fury over Carolyn Parrish being an idiot. I submit that despicable is a somewhat lower life form. If, Grant, you ever decide to set up a version of the Razzies, Bellevance gets my vote, today at least.

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