Today, I got up in time to make it to Point Pleasant Park and get in a run. The weather was cold, sunny and very crisp. I love running in that park as the sun comes up or goes down. After changing, I made my way up to the North End for the Halifax Explosion ceremony. This is the 91st year. I started taking my kids when they were quite young, and we did that for 5-6 years. Myself, I have kept going almost every year since then.
It is so easy to be busy and not spend anytime thinking about such a tragic event. The ceremony always affects me quite deeply. Not so much as a Canadian or as a resident of Halifax. More as a citizen of the world. Canada was at war back then. We have soldiers fighting in Afghanistan right now.
It is so easy to glorify times in our past. Horse-drawn carriages, skating on the forzen harbour in winter, listening to the radio with the family on Saturday nights. The reality, life was a good deal harder back in 1917. The war made everything tougher.
Oddly enough, during the moment of silence, I am not thinking about how the explosion affected the people of Halifax. I am thinking about the current residents of places like Mumbai, Baghdad and Darfur to name but a few. When a bomb goes off in a marketplace in Baghdad, think of the effect that it has on the locals that are left behind. Family members are dead, friends are gone.
For every person that dies, many more are injured, some quite seriously. The hospitals are full, confusion reigns everywhere. If you live there, your market is gone. Where do you go now? How safe are you every time you go out for the necessities of life? Your country is a mess with no real end in sight. There is no real rule of law, just rule of might.
Are the people of Baghdad any different than those who suffered in the Halifax Explosion? Innocents caught up in the mindless terror of war.