Let’s hope we learn from past wars

I have just finished reading the novel To End All Wars, a story about the First World War from 1914-1918.

Dear editor,

I have just finished reading the novel To End All Wars, a story about the First World War from 1914-1918.

It told about the incredible sacrifice by so many on both sides. The number of dead and wounded is impossible to imagine along with the horror that parents experienced when they received the black-bordered War Office Telegram advising them of the death of their loved ones.

My grandfather after his recent immigration from Britain was one who jumped at the chance to fight for his new country in the First World War. After the war he spent most of the next 50 years in a veterans hospital in London, Ont.

My family would go and visit him and as a young boy I remember well the white sterile room and his crippled body lying in front of me. The diagnosis was depression.

My father also jumped at the chance after high school to follow his buddies in the new War to End All Wars — the Second World War.  He spent his last years also institutionalized in his beloved Toronto at Sunnybrook Veteran Hospital, also suffering from severe depression.

My dad met mom in London after the war and convinced her to come back with him and start a new life together. My mother was a teen growing up in London during the war. She told us stories about collecting pieces of the fallen bombs the morning after and taking them to school to trade with her friends.

“The best ones had numbers or writing in German, which we traded like hockey cards.” Both her parents died during the war and as a young teen was placed in an orphanage.

Her only sibling, left London as a young soldier to fight Hitlers army in Africa and they had no contact for almost 40 more years. She still claims growing up during the war were the best years of her life, and although she doesn’t remember current events, her recollections of the war years are still very clear. She is currently living at a Royal Canadian Legion Seniors Home in Toronto and still enjoys a good cup of tea.

My wife and I have two sons like my father and grandfather before me, and I only hope that they will never see the day when they are conscripted to fight in another country or possibly even our own in that terrible sacrifice we call war.

We hope you take a moment Nov. 11 to remember those who paid so dearly and continue to do so. In closing, let me quote from To End All Wars, “But when the war was finally over Nov. 11, 1918, it was quoted that Londoners poured out of shops and offices onto the street to cheer. The public jubilation was similar in mood when war was declared more than four years earlier. The crowd was frivolous still and had learned nothing during that period of horror.”

Lets only hope we do!

Rob (Norton) McBride,


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox set to apply for two infrastructure grants

Sanitary sewer, sidewalk extension in the town’s plans

The number of reported assaults in Courtenay jumped from 302 in 2019 to 364 in 2020. File photo
Assaults up in Courtenay, according to police statistics

The number of assaults increased significantly in Courtenay from 2019 to 2020,… Continue reading

Sawyer, a northern saw-whet owl that became synonymous with Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society, passed away peacefully over the weekend. Sawyer would make numerous public appearances with MARS staff in and around the Comox Valley and Campbell River. Photo supplied.
Popular MARS ambassador owl dies

Submitted MARS Wildlife Rescue has lost one of its mightiest ambassadors. Tiny… Continue reading

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 19 Wing Comox assisted in helping an injured hiker down from the top of Mt. Benson near Nanaimo Jan. 23. Photo by 19 Wing Comox
With video: 442 Squadron assists mid-Island mountain rescue

The crew on the Buffalo hand-launched 15 flares

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Comox Valley artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
In <em>Forbidden Reel</em>, Afghan-Canadian director Ariel Nasr crafts a thrilling and utterly original story of modern Afghanistan. Photo supplied
Director crafts thrilling, original story of modern Afghanistan

For most of us, Afghanistan is not synonymous with film culture. Ariel… Continue reading

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Bowen Island artist Di Izdebski posted a video of orcas surfacing right next to the Bowen Island shoreline on Jan. 23, 2021. (Screenshot)
VIDEO: Shoreline close encounter with orcas near Bowen Island

Bowen Island resident has a memorable experience

Most Read