I am Canadian. I grew up listening to grandparents talking about the Great War, about young friends and neighbours lost. I heard my parents and their peers reminiscing about life during the Second World War, heard the stories from those who enlisted and came home, heard about those who served and didn't.
A few local men fought in Korea in the early 1950s, and each Remembrance Day they would join the other veterans in telling young schoolchildren their stories.
Then there was the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear weaponry put the sweet optimism of youth under a cloud of fear. This was a time when my classmates and I practised emergency duck and cover drills in school. This was an era when parents spoke in hushed tones about Russia and the United States and what it might mean for Canadians.
But, having reached my teens as the 1960s were coming to an end, when I hear the word war these days, my thoughts first recall one of the most controversial in American history. The United States government's participation in the Vietnam War was perceived as a fight against communism. Many, however, including a good number of their own citizens, felt that this time it was not America's fight. As a result it was a time of conflict across the ocean and at home.
And though I might have lived across the border, for a young teenager it was an emotional time. Culture reflected the divisiveness through music and art. The cry for peace had never been so loud.
Sadly, it seems, it wasn't enough that we had a strong idyllic desire for a conflict-free world. Today the wars continue, the battle being against terrorism. Religious and ethnic differences continue to cause conflict. Megalomaniacs and sociopaths still rise to positions of leadership, and the meek follow.
So as we look ahead to a day commemorating the brave men and women for whom the dream of a peaceful world cost them their lives, here are some collections of United States military clipart:
iCLIPART.com United States Military Illustrations
Clipart.com US MIlitary Images