Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Remember Which War, continued

I wrote previously about remembrance efforts for the War of 1812.  Well, the party is still going:
Fun post here that insists it was a draw despite popular mythology of a Canadian victory.  The events of this war get short shrift in the US, so I had not realized that the US actually won some battles before the peace treaty (always enjoyed the fact that the Battle of New Orleans occurred after the treaty).

This piece reflects the view that Canada ought not be celebrating this (or any?) war.  I do wonder about this quote:
"Canada is a nation not forged by war, not hardened through revolution, not fortified by loud exultations of our patriotic spirit .."
Does this mean that Canada was not forged, hardened or fortified?  That Canadian nationalism is actually kind of weak due to the lack of formative experiences?   Hmmm.  I probably would not go that far, although reliance on smug attitudes about American health care is perhaps a weak reed on which to build a national identity.
"The struggle that has formed our national character has not been a contest against other people but against the elements, against the cold and the wind and the stubborn rock."
Oops, my bad.  Nasty winters build character.  Got it.

About that winning thing:
The American believe they did, and will launch into Johnny Horton's rendition of "The Battle of New Orleans" at the first twangy chord of a country music banjo. Canadians believe we won, rightly thinking that by repelling the invaders - the American troops - we came together as a country.
Has this writer ever been to the US?  Meet any Americans?  I am pretty sure that not only is the average American unable to sing this song, but they cannot even identify the players in the War of 1812.   Oh, and to be clear, to Americans, Canada was not a player.  The war in American eyes is strictly US vs UK.  The reason why Americans view the war at all as a US victory is that the US could hold off the British empire a second time, even if the US initiated a war that provided no gains.

On other hand, she (the writer) is correct about this:
I await the influx of American tourists in the summer of 2012 who will be surprised to learn they are the bad guys in Canada's so-called "most important war."

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