Eating our dinner tonight after an exhausting week, I was disheartened to overhear the folks at the next table discussing a local journalists' take on the Toronto airshow... they were dismissive and rolled their eyes over said journalist's suggestion that for our many Canadians who arrive from other lands (lands where the terrors of war are alive and well today, not just in history books) the airshow presents a frightening obstacle to recovery.
I was dismayed at our restaurant neighbours' thoughtless dismissal of this argument because I know it to be a valid one. My own grandmother was a WW2 survivor, and she told me many a horror story of the decimation of her beautiful and historical European hometown during the ravages of a never-ending war. The untold stories of starvation, death of children, rape by strangers and countrymen alike would suggest themselves only periodically in the sad, sad eyes that grew even sadder as she suddenly became silent, remembering this friend or that family member, or a favourite building or article from the home that hadn't been seen or thought of in decades. I remember when the annual airshow approached, my grandmother would become particularly sensitive, as her undiagnosed PTSD flared up with every fighter plane that roared overhead. She once commented, "We had to hear that noise every day, along with alarm raids, for 6 years straight -- wasn't that enough?"
The dismissive comments of our table neighbours were clearly made by people who--although they had perhaps served overseas for a time -- were given the gift, the opportunity of returning home to their families, their houses and community buildings still standing, and a country still in one piece.
I wish I had the patience, the tolerance, the empathy to speak kindly to them, and invite them to explore further the very real trauma a loud, noisy event like the 3-day airshow causes tcausualties of war who come to our fine country for peace and restoration.