Introdiucing WWII to the schools

November 3, 2012

For Brad White
Dominion Secretary
Royal Canadian Legion

Dear Comrade White

Re: teaching Canada’s role in WWII

In my email of July 22, 2012, attached (to which I await your response) I pointed out in the second paragraph the scandalous subordination of Canada’s contribution in WWII in Canadian classrooms to a dubious Hollywood version of the war, in which the role of the Canadian Serviceman is ignored.

I attributed this oversight to a combination of ignorance, neglect and pervasive American TV, all of which I believed could be overcome by appropriate remedial measures fostered by the Legion and its supporters. I now find that there could be a more sinister explanation of the problem, namely that the promoters of the Hollywood version minimize the true story of Canada’s role simply because it serves their political purposes to do so.

This perception may seem farfetched and it had not even crossed my mind until my recent experience with Historica Dominion, with which I understand you have a connection. I contacted the organization when I learned of their Memory Program, proposing that the Veterans’ lectures to students be reinforced by presentation of my album “Star Weekly at War” to the host school (and that a second copy be given to the Veteran speaker) to mark the occasion. I suggested that the cost would be modest and the impact greatly enhanced and memorialized by the very attractive, valuable and informative souvenir.

My contacts at Historica Dominion were very much impressed by the album and the idea, but I was informed by a Director, Jeremy Diamond, who has indirect control over the Memory Project, that funds were not available. I then offered to reduce the cost by half (to far below the album’s intrinsic value) but my offer still was not accepted. In order not to deprive the children of the benefits, I then offered to donate 500 copies – no small sacrifice given my financial circumstances – but was again turned down on the grounds that storage space was not available. I then offered to provide storage in Toronto (the 500 albums fit on one pallet) without result.

Considering the benefits foregone, the refusal of my generous donation (the retail value of the 500 books is $40,000.00) is not plausible except in terms of unwarranted interference, which, if it is can take place in a respected public charity such as Historica Dominion, could just as easily take place in the education system where similarly-motivated parties are no doubt also present. An investigation therefore into the infiltration of Historica Dominion could well shed light on the problem in the school system. Food for thought!

I would be glad to discuss this situation with you at your convenience, as well as the other subjects raised in my various letters, notably the revitalization of the Legion.

Meanwhile, perhaps we will meet on parade on the 11th. As usual I shall wear my father’s WWI Artillery cap so his spirit will be with us in the ranks He was an ardent Legion member for many years.

With comradely good wishes,

Ian V. Macdonald
Member, Dominion Command

July 22, 2012

Dear Comrade White

Excising the Veteran from the history of WWII

I believe I mentioned in an earlier letter my encounter with the dismal ignorance of some Ottawa university students of the Second World War, at least of the Canadian role. These students “knew” the precise number of East European Jews who had perished but had not even the foggiest notion of how many, if any, Canadian Servicemen had given their lives. Having lost several friends and a first cousin I was offended by their response, but even more puzzled over the twisted historical emphasis.

Recently, in conversation with an intelligent Grade 8 student, I discovered, I think, the answer to the puzzle. He told me that the stories of the war were not about Canadian heroes but rather about foreign victims, namely Jews who were to be loved and treated with the greatest respect because of their kindliness and suffering, and, incidentally not referred to as “Jews”, but as the “Jewish People”. He said the prescribed texts on the War were “Hannah’s Suitcase”, “Anne Frank’s Diary”, “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” (the video of which brought the children to tears) and the hatefilled novel “Night” by the disreputable anti-Christian prevaricator Eli Wiesel.

Obviously, much needs to be done to restore the reality of WWII to school curricula and especially to ensure that the rich and edifying history of Canada at war is not overshadowed or displaced by dramatized, non-Canadian stories, no matter how Politically Correct.

Before seeking a solution, it would be wise, I think, to learn the extent to which the teaching of the War has been distorted in the school system. An informal survey based on a sampling of students from a representative cross-section of Canadian schools might be a good way to start. This could be done by Legion volunteers, or could be contracted out at modest cost.

I look forward to your response.

Best wishes,

Ian V. Macdonald
Member, Dominion Command

From: IanVMacdonald@aol.com
To: bwhite@legion.ca
Sent: 11/4/2012 1:40:09 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Introdiucing WWII to the schools

November 3, 2012

For Brad White
Dominion Secretary
Royal Canadian Legion

Dear Comrade White

Re: teaching Canada’s role in WWII

In my email of July 22, 2012, attached (to which I await your response) I pointed out in the second paragraph the scandalous subordination of Canada’s contribution in WWII in Canadian classrooms to a dubious Hollywood version of the war, in which the role of the Canadian Serviceman is ignored.

I attributed this oversight to a combination of ignorance, neglect and pervasive American TV, all of which I believed could be overcome by appropriate remedial measures fostered by the Legion and its supporters. I now find that there could be a more sinister explanation of the problem, namely that the promoters of the Hollywood version minimize the true story of Canada’s role simply because it serves their political purposes to do so.

This perception may seem farfetched and it had not even crossed my mind until my recent experience with Historica Dominion, with which I understand you have a connection. I contacted the organization when I learned of their Memories program, proposing that the Veterans’ lectures to students be reinforced by presentation of my album “Star Weekly at War” to the host school (and that a second copy be given to the Veteran speaker) to mark the occasion. I suggested that the cost would be modest and the impact greatly enhanced and memorialized by the very attractive, valuable and informative souvenir.

My contacts at Historica Dominion were very much impressed by the album and the idea, but I was informed by a Director, Jeremy Diamond, who has indirect control over the Memories project. that funds were not available. I then offered to reduce the cost by half (to far below the album’s intrinsic value) but my offer still was not accepted. In order not to deprive the children of the benefits, I then offered to donate 500 copies – no small sacrifice given my financial circumstances – but was again turned down on the grounds that storage space was not available. I then offered to provide storage in Toronto (the 500 albums fit on one pallet) without result.

Considering the benefits foregone, the refusal of my generous donation (the retail value of the 500 books is $40,000.00) is not plausible except in terms of unwarranted interference, which, if it is can take place in a respected public charity such as Historica Dominion, could just as easily take place in the education system where similarly-motivated parties are no doubt also present. An investigation therefore into the infiltration of Historica Dominion could well shed light on the problem in the school system. Food for thought!

I would be glad to discuss this situation with you at your convenience, as well as the other subjects raised in my various letters, notably the revitalization of the Legion.

Meanwhile, perhaps we will meet on parade on the 11th. As usual I shall wear my father’s WWI Artillery cap so his spirit will be with us in the ranks He was an ardent Legion member for many years.

With comradely good wishes,

Ian V. Macdonald
Member, Dominion Command

July 22, 2012

Dear Comrade White

Excising the Veteran from the history of WWII

I believe I mentioned in an earlier letter my encounter with the dismal ignorance of some Ottawa university students of the Second World War, at least of the Canadian role. These students “knew” the precise number of East European Jews who had perished but had not even the foggiest notion of how many, if any, Canadian Servicemen had given their lives. Having lost several friends and a first cousin I was offended by their response, but even more puzzled over the twisted historical emphasis.

Recently, in conversation with an intelligent Grade 8 student, I discovered, I think, the answer to the puzzle. He told me that the stories of the war were not about Canadian heroes but rather about foreign victims, namely Jews who were to be loved and treated with the greatest respect because of their kindliness and suffering, and, incidentally not referred to as “Jews”, but as the “Jewish People”. He said the prescribed texts on the War were “Hannah’s Suitcase”, “Anne Frank’s Diary”, “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” (the video of which brought the children to tears) and the hatefilled novel “Night” by the disreputable anti-Christian prevaricator Eli Wiesel.

Obviously, much needs to be done to restore the reality of WWII to school curricula and especially to ensure that the rich and edifying history of Canada at war is not overshadowed or displaced by dramatized, non-Canadian stories, no matter how Politically Correct.

Before seeking a solution, it would be wise, I think, to learn the extent to which the teaching of the War has been distorted in the school system. An informal survey based on a sampling of students from a representative cross-section of Canadian schools might be a good way to start. This could be done by Legion volunteers, or could be contracted out at modest cost.

I look forward to your response.

Best wishes,

Ian V. Macdonald
Member, Dominion Command

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