August 4th is the 100th Anniversary of the Start of the First World War

Alberta Aviation Museum to be unveiling exhibit

Victory Bonds poster“The War to End all Wars” – the actual cause of which was mired in dubious politics and diplomacy – was unfortunately not the “End” our fore-fathers had prayed for. It was merely the beginning of a century that included two world-wars fought at levels of brutality not before imagined; a Cold War that claimed the lives of hundreds and a series of other wars we came to label as “conflicts” or “peace keeping missions”.

ALL war is evil; a fundamental failure of human kind and a failure that has been with us since the beginning of recorded history.

To recognize the 100th Anniversary of the First World War is to acknowledge those failures while remembering those who stepped onto the battlefield in the belief that they could put an end to the carnage and loss of life by standing-up for what they knew was right. We remember the young people who fought so bravely; their sacrifices and those of their families whether they returned home or were buried in Flanders Fields.

We need to acknowledge how the First World War changed our world, changed technology and how those actions 100 years ago still affect us today.

But while we must remember, recognize and commemorate those who stood bravely we do not celebrate the First World War or any of the conflicts that followed. Instead we must learn from them and endeavour never to repeat our errors that.

The most recognized symbol of the First World War is the Red Poppy inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian battlefield physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. The Red Poppy and the poem are poignant reminders of the true cost of War.

Take the time to read and understand both the Red Poppy and the poem. They are not celebrations of War; they are in truth very powerful anti-war symbols that help us to remember the sacrifices of thousands upon thousands of young people we sent across the ocean, remember the evil they fought and above all, the futility of War.

As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War the Alberta Aviation Museum will be unveiling an exhibit dedicated to and featuring two of the many Edmontonians who took part in the conflict. The exhibit will also highlight one of the most destructive uses of technology during that war that later, in peace, helped build the Canada we know today.

We acknowledge those who acted and sacrificed to return the World to Peace and how technology used to destroy in war can “build” in peace.

Thomas Hinderks, Executive Director

Alberta Aviation Museum Association