On page 4 of the November 13th edition of the St. Marys Independent there appeared a photograph of a group of fellow citizens at the cenotaph for Remembrance Day observances. The caption to the photo read “Over 200 people made a point of stopping by the St. Marys cenotaph on Wednesday morning to see the town’s Service of Remembrance and pay their respects to the veterans who have offered up their lives in the name of peace.” It was a wonderful occasion and I have attended it many times. As the son of two Royal Canadian Air Force veterans of the Second World War, I fully appreciate the necessity of honouring the fallen of our nation who were killed in the War of 1812, The Boer War, the two World Wars, Korea and the conflicts in the Middle East and to honour the veterans, the survivors of military conflicts ; however, I feel compelled to advise your readers that Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors fighting for their respective nations in war do not “offer up their lives in the name of peace”; they fight to achieve victory. This is more than a mere distinction of semantics. Peace is a by-product of victory, not the objective of war.
When on May 10th 1940, German armoured columns, infantry divisions and a punishing Luftwaffe (air force) crashed through the weak and defeatist defenses of Belgium, Holland and France, King George VI asked Winston Churchill to form a government, after having lost faith in the administration of Churchill’s predecessor, Neville Chamberlain. Later, Churchill stood in the House of Commons and in a famous speech said, “You ask, What is our policy? I will state it is to wage war by sea, land and air, with all our might, with all the strength that God can give us. To wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the long and lamentable catalogue of human crime. You ask, What is our aim? I can answer in one word: VICTORY! Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, there is no survival”.
Former Toronto Sun Founder and Editor-in-Chief Peter Worthington often commented in his editorials in the 1980s on the subject of the tense international situation then obtaining between the West and the Soviet Union. He once commented that in war or diplomacy any nation desiring peace but feeling threatened by a belligerent has an easy and simple way of avoiding war: surrender. Worthington was no `peacenik’ and as he explained in his many articles on the subject, he was an advocate of a strong and capable military acting as a deterrent to those nations (and terrorists as well) seeking the destruction of the West by either duplicity or by aggressive expansionist military operations. Worthington stated that the nation which surrendered may have thought it was achieving a form of peace but it was the “peace of the graveyard” a naive invitation to the belligerent to oppress, enslave or massacre those who had surrendered in order to avoid a fight.
The objective in war is to secure the enemy’s surrender, to achieve victory over the forces of one’s enemy. Peace is not the objective in war but remains one of the hoped for consequences or by-products of victory. Surrendering to an aggressive and hostile enemy is a formula for destruction. Never at a loss for words, Churchill once famously commented on the necessity of remaining steadfast in war when he quipped, “It is pointless for the sheep to make declarations proclaiming the advantages of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion.”
Every year we read the “Boos” regarding mixing Remembrance Day and Christmas decorating of the stores. I have not talked to any merchants or done a survey, but I’m positive all St. Marys merchants are very respectful of November 11. That being said, they are also aware of the Santa Claus parade which comes very soon after, and the town wants to be ready. I am very thankful we have Lyric Flowers and The Flower Shop & More that take on the task of decorating store fronts, which takes much time and effort, mornings, afternoons and evenings, over a period of days, in all kinds of weather. Maybe next year these people that like to criticize annually will instead offer their time and volunteer to assist in the decorating. I’m sure they could help carry garlands and bows, or hand same up to the person on the ladder, or even help steady the ladder on windy days. That way, we could wait a little longer to start the decorating process, and there would be no need for criticism of our merchants.
Eden, Little Falls Crafters Market
We are on a high! Now after the amazing box office smash hit, CABARET, has come to an end, we in St. Marys Community Players can look back on the last 10 months with amazement and delight.
It was not an easy task, this production. It brought with it an edgy story, ambitious musical score and high-end budget. All rather risky and a step away from recent productions. But, my goodness, sometimes it pays to take a chance!
The risk paid off in so many remarkable ways. The uber-cool band received rave reviews, the actors experienced standing ovations for their extraordinary performances. There were wonderful kudos to the creative team and sincere appreciation for all the behind-the-scenes staff. And indeed, behind every successful production, the behind-the-scenes team deserve their own standing ovation.
It is only fitting that we take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge our immense gratitude to everyone involved.
Thanks must go to the dedicated volunteers who literally gave thousands of hours of their time; to the over 1400 community members that supported us by attending the show (some even 3 times!); to our community business partners that supported us by advertising in our program, sponsoring our organization and displaying our posters in their windows. We are also so grateful for the hundreds of positive reviews in the media and on social media that kept our houses packed.
We look forward now to continuing our theatrical service to our community with the comedy improv shows in March 2016 and the spring production of Oscar Wilde’s finest comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, coming in April 2016.
St. Marys Community Players and the Producers of CABARET (Liane Gregory-Sterritt, Don Van Galen, Maggie Whitcroft)
On November 9th, Brian, Astrid and I had the pleasure of welcoming to out home 33 people from our neighbourhood. This was prompted by senseless acts of vandalism we and others had experienced during the summer.
I looked into neighbourhood watch initiatives, thinking that putting up Neighbourhood Watch signs would be the solution. It has since become clear to me that a safe neighbourhood has more to do with communication, sociability and civic duty. Although street signs would be helpful, nothing can replace watching out for our neighbours and their property. With this in mind, we distributed a letter to 52 houses in our neighbourhood, inviting people to a convivial meet and greet with a theme of Safety and Property Protection, with Constable Kees Wijnands of OPP Community Services and Media Relations.
Our immediate neighbours, dear friends, were expected, but we were hopeful for those living further away. We were pleased by their positive responses. We didn’t have high hopes with people we’d never met, but were thrilled to see them walk through our doorway. Putting faces and names to their respective homes was the starting point in creating a community-minded neighbourhood. Out of all the homes that were called upon, 21 responded with interest and/or enthusiasm. As for the unresponsive balance, we trust that they will be proactive in reporting in their own private ways.
Protecting one’s home and pride of ownership should go beyond one’s property line and spread to one’s neighbourhood – ward – town. We hope that our initiative to connect with our neighbours inspires others to do the same in their own neighbourhoods.
Please be vigilant and report anything suspicious or abnormal to the OPP, and report anything that has fallen into disrepair to the Town of St Marys.
A heartfelt thank you to all who came to our meeting, to Police Constable Kees Wijnands and to Mayor Al Strathdee for their support. A special thank you to the St Marys Museum and to Bill and Marilyn for lending us their folding chairs.
Anyes K. Busby