Feature - What kind of peace do we seek? 

We have to do a better job of honouring our planet, honouring those who came before us, and being accountable to those who follow

What kind of peace do we seek? I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living. Not merely peace in our time, peace in all time. Our problems are man made, therefore, they can be solved by man. For in the final analysis our most basic common link is; that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breath the same air, we all cherish our children’s future, and we are all mortal.

— John F. Kennedy

One year ago this week, on March 19, 2003, the world watched as U.S.-led forces launched a long-anticipated war on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. It was a controversial decision that has become no less controversial in the 12 months since.

The use of force to resolve differences is as old as man. Sometimes it is the only way. Sometimes it only seems like the only way.

Following every conflict there is a period when the terms of the new order must be sorted out. Peace can require as much strategy, manpower and soul-searching as war. And even if the status quo holds, conflict has an impact on people, their values and the planet we all share.

To date, Japan is the only nation in history to have atomic bombs dropped on its people. The first bomb was dropped by the Americans over Hiroshima (the equivalent of 13 kilotons of TNT) on Aug. 6, 1945. The second bomb (the equivalent of 22 kilotons of TNT) was dropped over Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945.

In the autumn of 1983 I visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I was 21 years old, and the museum’s black and white images of the incineration sickened me. At Hiroshima Peace Park an eternal flame burns, only to be extinguished when the planet is free of all nuclear weapons. Today, I find it frightening to comprehend how atomic weapons have developed and advanced since 1945.

It is not for me to judge the choices of the generation before us, I would rather learn from them. It was wartime. The fate of the Japanese people began with their attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941 – that day Imperial Japan brought World War Two further into the Pacific and the Americans joined the Allied forces.

In early 1941, Winston Churchill asked Canada to assist in defending Hong Kong from the Japanese. The British Government assured the Canadian Government that their men "would not be put in harm’s way."

The Winnipeg Grenadiers and The Royal Rifles of Canada, totalling 1,973 men, departed from Vancouver on Oct. 27, 1941. They were declared, unfit for combat because at that point they had little front line training. Three weeks later, they became the first Canadian soldiers to fight in World War Two.

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