The trouble with history is that It’s often seen with too wide a scope. We focus so much on themes, patterns, social mores, and events, that we often lose sight of the fact that the historical canvas is made up of many, many individuals?each with a unique story. This week, when we focus on remembering those whose sacrifices in the past and present have allowed us the freedoms we enjoy today, we take a step closer and examine in more detail the reality of who these men and women really were.
There’s no better way to know people as individuals than through their unofficial, personal correspondence, and the History Department of Vancouver Island University recognizes that. Its Canadian Letters and Images Project has compiled letters and documents in an effort to provide an ?online archive of the Canadian war experience.? Collections include correspondence from Korea and World Wars I and II, as well as from earlier periods (like the Riel Rebellion and the US Civil War).
Sometimes the best way to tell a story is through pictures. This Queen’s University online archive of World War I photos includes many close-up as well as distant shots, and the commentary provides a historical and social context for the shots.
Where thoughts, feelings, and emotions rise beyond the level tolerated by simple prose, many turn to the poetic realm. This online collection of World War I poetry, first published as The Muse in Arms in 1917, contains over 130 poems by both famous and unknown poets. Poignantly, as the introduction points out, a number of the poets included didn’t survive the war.