YORKTON - So here we sit, with Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, and Remembrance Day on the short horizon, it is that time of year one often becomes reflective.
But this year it’s hard to consider what has come before us, and it is harder to look at the future with much beyond apprehension.
When a madman who actually has the ability to start the countdown to sending atomic weapons into the air against others is threatening that very act, our thoughts tend to get lost in those of fear.
With Remembrance Day just a couple of weeks away anyone with even a passing knowledge of history should know that war brings only death and destruction.
That should be well understood in Russia as that country suffered horribly as the Germans invaded during the Second World War. The siege of Leningrad was one of the cruellest of the war.
In September 1941, German forces closed in around the Soviet city of Leningrad, initiating a siege that would last nearly 900 days and claim the lives of 800,000 civilians. During the siege it is estimated 75,000 bombs were dropped on the city over the course of the blockade. People starved by the thousands, too many opting on cannibalism to stay alive.
How can a Russian leader not know the story of Leningrad, and with that knowledge in-hand be dedicated to never seeing his country at war again?
And now Russian leader Vladimir Putin has started a new war invading Ukraine.
Of course there were equally dark events against civilians in the war.
In August 1945, an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion immediately killed an estimated 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.
The people included the old and the young, indiscriminate killing with many dying of radiation.
While the bombings may have sped the war’s end, it remains a dark day for humanity too.
And now as the Russian offensive has sputtered in the face of a resilient Ukrainian populace defending their homeland, he is threatening to turn to atomic weapons against Ukraine and its people.
The situation might seem far from Yorkton, but with so many in the region having cultural and family ties to Ukraine as a community the situation there is all too close to home.
With the faces of our veterans looking down on our streets from banners throughout the downtown we know leaders should know better. War should be something we are thankful have ended forever, but human nature can’t seem to stop turning to bullets and bombs, and that leaves us all under a cloud of concern for what may soon be a larger, more deadly war threatening world peace.