National Post (National Edition) - - LETTERS -

But to view the past as ex­em­plary, to see its ac­tors in the round as men and women sub­ject to the codes of their day, is to in­vite a dif­fer­ent kind of com­par­i­son. In the days be­fore af­flu­ence and tech­nol­ogy, was it per­haps more dif­fi­cult to live those virtues that come so eas­ily to us? Should we not part­ner grat­i­tude with judg­ment when it comes to our com­mon past and those who lived it?

In our cel­e­bra­tions there was one note that was miss­ing or cer­tainly un­der­played. Grat­i­tude for the mo­ment we have in­her­ited. That how­ever far those who came be­fore us fell from the present codes of virtue and its fash­ion­able dis­play, they did, nonethe­less, through war and peace, in the main with ad­mirable sto­icism and dar­ing, ul­ti­mately pro­vide for what we now have the good for­tune to en­joy.

Maybe that’s why this 150th didn’t have the right feel. It was so very much about now, so lit­tle re­flect­ing on then. We didn’t reach this fine mo­ment on our own, and we should tem­per our judg­ments about those who gave it to us with a lit­tle of that cur­rent sen­si­tiv­ity about dif­fer­ence with which we seem so abun­dantly en­dowed.

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