John Donne, the great English writer, in his famous essay/eulogy, First Anniversary, points out that it is our duty not just to the dead, but to ourselves to remember the spirit of those who have passed.
The notion holds true for individuals and societies. As a nation, we are greater knowing who we are and how we got here.
The War of 1812 isn’t some distant boring history that we can’t understand. Stand in the gates of Fort Malden in Amherstburg, and look out across the river. What did Brock feel like when he ordered the invasion of the United States against a superior force in a fortified position? Climb the face of the Niagara gorge at Queen-ston Heights and imagine the Americans’ fear when they jumped to their deaths rather than face the tomahawks of native warriors.
Breathe the fresh water smell of the Niagara River in the early morning. See, feel, touch and smell our history.
The War of 1812 was the last foreign war fought on Canadian soil. As much or perhaps more than any other single war, this war and its myths defined who we are as Canadians. We owe it to ourselves to embrace and honour this great Canadian achievement.
We’re still here. We won.
I agree with Taylor that history is not just what we read on the page it is a living breathing part of our Canadian identity.
H./T Trusty Tory