Thursday, July 14, 2011

Remembering Animals in War

Kudos to 89-year-old Lloyd Swick of Ottawa, the capital of Canada, who is going around the city raising $100,000 to build a memorial to animals that have perished in past wars. After all of the money is raised and the memorial is complete, Ottawa's Confederation Park will boast one of the world's only monument to animals that perished in the seething cauldron of warfare.

To quote Swick:

"We need the monument because our casualty list of close to 60,000 in the First World War and some 48,000 in the Second World War would have been much higher had it not been for the support of our animals," he said. "The animals managed to bring the guns forward, the animals that managed to bring the provisions forward, the animals that evacuated our wounded. We owe a great debt to them." (Source)

Some additional information on Swick's crusade is worth highlighting here. Some key grafs:

The [monument] for animals in war will be connected to the existing Boer War monument, which commemorates the 1899-1902 South African battle where Canada sent some 50,000 horses to haul cannons, soldiers and ammunition.

Canada still uses animals in war -- specifically in Afghanistan where dogs are used to search for mine clusters as well as search and rescue operations.

Historically war animals have included glow worms for navigation and as reading lights, pack camels in India and Africa, elephants in the jungles of Burma, mine clearance dolphins in the Gulf War and an estimated eight million horses or mules which have been killed providing mobility to soldiers and equipment in the past century alone.

Swick deserves a salute and heartfelt thanks. Animals have made great sacrifices, not only for Canada, but for men and women around the world, in thousands of conflicts throughout history. Their deaths are largely forgotten, almost never acknowledged in monuments and rarely - if ever - getting a sentence in the history books.

What a blessing to us that this 89-years-young man has the courage and the wisdom to raise the money to build this memorial. We can only hope that his one-person crusade will lead to other, similar ones. Anything designed to help remember and honor the animals deserves our applause and heartfelt thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic story. I look forward to this much needed monument.