The Ottawa Citizen has taken an interesting approach to memorializing Canada’s war dead. Perhaps taking a cue from Israel’s tradition of annually naming all the people killed by Palestinian terror attacks, The Citizen has created a Twitter feed called “We Are The Dead”
The Citizen’s Glen McGregor set up a bot that accesses the Canadian Government’s Virtual War Memorial, which houses 119,531 records of Canadians killed at war (mostly in the 20th century). Once an hour, it randomly accesses a name, rank, posting and date of death and uploads it to Twitter.
“A quick calculation showed us that it will take more than 13 years for the bot to work through the list of war dead. We decided it was worth doing anyway,” says McGregor in his blog.
“We are the dead” is a line from the WWI poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae”
Here is the stanza:
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.