And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on…
I would like to believe this, Mariah Carey, as the world needs more heroes.
This month has seen us mourn hundreds of thousands of military heroes. The ones who have fought and died in endless wars and the super-heroes who never die but live on in movies.
Firstly, the world commemorated the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War or the Great War as it has been called. The war to end all wars. Over 620,000 Canadians volunteered to serve in this war and over 61,000 of them were killed. Approximately, another 172,000 were wounded.
These numbers are staggering and surely were a portent that history must never repeat itself.
But it did.
The Second World War. The Korean War. The Vietnam War. Bosnia. Afghanistan…and on it goes.
Followed the next day by the death of Marvel Comic’s Stan Lee, creator of heroes for this generation and the last. The Fantastic Four, Spider-man, Iron Man and my favourite, X-men.
As I made my way to remember the fallen at our local Cenotaph under a brilliant November sky, I noticed a woman, younger than myself, fighting back tears as the planes from both wars did a fly-past. Upon speaking with her after the ceremony, I discovered she was thinking of her grandfather who served in World War 2.
So I wasn’t the only one weeping.
It was especially emotional for me as 2018 also marked the 100th birthday of my father, a second World War veteran. He died 40 years ago but the memory of his life is ever present. Although a decorated hero, a Major in the First Special Service Force or the The Devil’s Brigade, I wonder if he ever saw himself in that light but I shall never know as he never talked about it.
The bottle became his friend, his solace, his comfort.
Today, we are reminded daily of the ravages of war.
The emotional toll is often incomprehensible for those who’ve never experienced war.
In some ways, we can thank Lee for his contribution in making his super-heroes human and real and fallible. And flawed just like all of us.
In his own words, “…a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them – even if there is no chance of a reward.”
That sums up nicely what our brave and heroic veterans have done. Fought in far away battles and often made the ultimate sacrifices to help to build the Canada and the United States we know and love today.
Although these soldiers did not have iconic names such as Superman, Logan or Deadpool, they indeed possessed a certain amount of superhuman powers in their own personal dedication to fighting evil in the world.
Where are these heroes now when we need them most?
When our leaders are spouting divisive and xenophobic and anti-Semitic rhetoric?
When our leaders and elected officials are misogynistic and breaching national security with their online sexploits?
When our world is in such turmoil and chaos and pain.
Indeed the world needs a hero now more than ever.
Lest we forget.