I am at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, next to Vietnam veteran Gerald Buffie.
Buffie went to war as a fighter – my brother went as a tourist.
For several years, Shy served in the Israeli Defense Forces in the elite commando intelligence and counter-terrorism unit Sayeret Matkal, which carries out operations in many countries. It has a direct mission to protect Israel and an indirect mission to protect NATO countries from foreign terrorist attacks.
Since Canada has feared becoming a security liability, for many years it too has employed Sayeret Matkal to help in terrorist attack protection and prevention.
Before September 11, it may have been difficult for Canadians to understand this necessity, but now an anxiety once unique to Israel, has begun to infiltrate the entire world.
“Soldiers who want to do the most glorious things suffer the most glorious pain before the fight,” he says.
In all his glory, Shy does not even know who won. Do you win by losing only a certain amount of lives? Wins and losses are for games – not war.
During the ceremony, Padre Gary Killen said that people died for peace so that we may live in peace. On Remembrance Day, we focus on a war that ended with the signing of an agreement, but there exists an ongoing battle for veterans, many of whom will never achieve peace of mind.
For Shy it turns out that everything he fought for is not what he thought it was, and now he strives for everyday to become a day of forget, rather than a day of remembrance.
My brother left for war in 1989, and though he has since returned to Canada, he has never really come back from war.