Friday, October 18, 2013

The Forgotten War

The Mackenzie King bridge is the second bridge crossing over the Rideau Canal in the heart of the city. Along the walkway, overlooking Confederation Park, is a relatively new memorial, commemorating the Korean War. We often pass over this war, so soon after the Second World War. Canada sent troops to that conflict, twenty six thousand in all, serving during the war and afterwards. Over five hundred Canadians died during the conflict, which to this day technically is still ongoing, as there was no peace treaty.

The memorial itself, admittedly, I don't care for. At least the top portion, the soldier and the children, who are all at life sized scale (which by a trick of the eye seems to actually diminish the size of the statue) It seems to render the soldier as babysitter.


It's the base, however, which reminds you of the purpose of the memorial.


The five hundred plus names of men who died in the Korean War and during UN peace duties afterwards are inscribed around the base. Many of them, of course, are enlisted men, their ranks very typical of the foot soldier: privates, sergeants, corporals. Young guys mostly, maybe some who'd gotten through the Second World War and stayed on, dying in a place far, far from home.



Tomorrow I'll start taking you down into Confederation Park, where there are a number of military monuments.

14 comments:

  1. A memorial worthwhile stopping by. So many lost lives.

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  2. Like other wars, fought for no good reason.

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    1. If a war can actually resolve a lot of what led to it- like the Second World War- then it's worthwhile. This one has just left us with sixty years of profound tensions and a North Korea that operates like a cult.

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  4. I'm glad someone remembered them, and I also agree that wars are awful - particularly this one,havong not ended in a good resolution whatsoever.

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    1. Our War Museum has a large section on the war. I remember standing beside a man once, looking at uniforms, and he pointed out the buttons on the Canadian uniform, saying that if you were short of food, those things were edible.

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  5. I agree that the statue is pretty bland. It seems that the names in the list of soldiers are either French or English. Is Ottawa more diverse these days?

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    1. It is, yes. The influence of the two solitudes as we call it is very much there, but in recent decades diversity has taken hold.

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  6. I too remember that war and the young men that were there and then they were gone. My other thoughts would just arouse a discussion I do not want as it is far too late to change anything.

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    1. Everything I've read of it, it was a horrendous war to live through.

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  7. My father was technically enlisted in the Korean War. Yes- a war 'Between' and often forgotten. Looking forward to your journey beyond.

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    1. I imagine because it was in such close proximity to WWII that it got lost in the proverbial shuffle.

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