Worth saving

Monday’s ceremonies in France and across Canada, including here in Fort Frances, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the victory at Vimy Ridge during the First World War gave Canadians a chance to remember those who fell in battle all those years ago.
But it also provided a stark reminder that Canadians have a poor grasp of our country’s history. The Dominion Institute, for instance, found just 41 percent of those surveyed could name Canada’s most famous single battle in WW I as Vimy Ridge.
It’s a much different story south of the border, of course, where American history—right from the days of the Mayflower—is drummed into children’s heads. And thanks to Hollywood, events like Pearl Harbor, D-Day, and Iwo Jima are reinforced for all generations.
Their pop culture is so pervasive, in fact, that Canadians are more likely to know about Paul Revere’s midnight ride, George Washington crossing the Delaware, and Davy Crockett defending the Alamo than legends from our own country’s history.
That’s pathetic—and just plain wrong.
True, Canada doesn’t have the entertainment industry to bring the dusty pages of history books to life. But what can be said about our collective mindset when we’d rather watch “Deal or No Deal” than a CBC mini-series on the FLQ crisis, or read about Harry Potter’s latest adventures instead of how Laura Secord saved the day during the War of 1812?
Getting passionate about our past won’t change overnight. Where we can start, however, is by putting more emphasis on Canadian history in our education system—at both the elementary and secondary levels.
The rest of us, meanwhile, can set the right example by taking a better interest, too.
Canada has a storied history that must not be allowed to fade away because we were too lazy or apathetic to preserve it.