Remembering Family Members and Friends

This page is dedicated to a few people who lived and died without becoming famous. Nevertheless, they deserve to be remembered.

My Father
Karl Johannes Wolf, father

Born - Essen, Germany
November 21, 1908
Died - St. Bruno, Quebec
March 27, 1980

My father was a teacher,
the kind of teacher every child
deserves but does not get.

I owe him my idealism,
my drive never to stop learning,
my unwillingness to accept
mediocrity in myself and others.

Peter Heggtveit
Peter Carl Heggtveit, friend

Born - Ottawa
October 18, 1960
Died - Old Chelsea, Quebec
January 11, 1988

Peter was a promising
free style skier and
visual artist in his teens.

In his twenties,
he was overcome by
schizophrenia, which tragically
led to his death.

Michael Moore
Michael (Miguel) Moore, friend

Born - San Antonio, Texas, April 23, 1956
Died - New York City, July 14, 1990

Michael was a wonderful modern
dancer and choreographer. He was
also developing into a talented
abstract painter, when 
cancer struck him down.

Michael Conway
Michael Matthew Conway, friend

Born - March 13, 1955
Died - Toronto, July 16, 1996

Michael was a talented modern dancer,
and dance remained his first love
even when he pursued other interests.
All his life, he believed
in the essential goodness of mankind.

It was not enough to protect him from AIDS.

Go tell the Spartans ...

Inscription on the monument to the 300 Spartans who were killed  
at Thermopylai in 480 B.C. defending their country against the Persian Empire.  

Thoughts on Remembrance Day
November 11, 1998

It's Wednesday after-noon, gray, windy, cold. The CBC broadcast of the ceremonies commemorating the 80th anniversay of World War I, reminding us of the millions of men, women, and children killed by war in this century, is just over. There were thoughtful words to remember the sacrifices made - for many "the ultimate sacrifice", that stirring euphemism for life ended prematurely, violently. Thoughtful words from chaplains, veterans, and broadcast commentators about the need to defend freedom and democracy even unto death.

Unspoken - someone else's death. Not the speaker's, not that of those watching the ceremony, including me. Thoughts pass through my mind. What or who caused those deaths, who is responsible? Surely not that all-powerful, all-good god of the christian believers who sits above it all watching silently, doing nothing! No, who on earth is responsible?

No, it's not the soldiers. They're just the instrument - they kill, they die! But who is responsible for starting the killings that we have to remember every year, at least on this day?

Politicians give the orders to go to war, only politicians - never soldiers. Politicians make wars - through acts of omission as much as through acts of commission.

I believe that we wouldn't have to remember the millions who were killed during this century if the politicians who elected themselves and who let themselves be elected to lead the many countries involved in the various conflicts had done their jobs conscientiously. On this day we remember first of all World War I. But, if there had been no World War I, there would have been no Russian Revolution, no Stalin, no Hitler, no World War II, no Korean War, nor many of the other conflicts.

And what was World War I about? Saving democracy? Ridding the world of a mad dog of a dictator? No, none of those admirable and necessary things we talk about on Remembrance Day have anything to do with World War I!

World War I was a mistake made by foolish politicians in Austria, Russia, and Germany in response to an act of Serbian terrorism. And it was an act of omission by the vainglorious leaders of Britain and France who refused to do what was necessary to defuse the situation because they thought they had the right to control the world.

So, today we have to remember that millions of human beings died miserable deaths because of a few stupid old men in 1914. And death is never glorious, no matter how beautiful the poetry or the monuments! Only life can be glorious! That's what we must always remember!

And, we must, at all cost, remember to keep our politicians in check!