For Canada's war historians, every day is Remembrance Day

Historians in the News

OTTAWA–Sean Maloney has been to Afghanistan eight times, experienced two attacks by improvised explosive device and survived at least five attempts on his life.

"I've been shot at, rocketed, mortared, all of it. My view always was that I needed to understand these things so I could do the job properly," he says.

Maloney is not a soldier, but he is on a mission. When he ventures outside the relative safety of Kandahar Airfield, there is a Canadian flag on one arm of his military-issued shirt and a patch on the other arm identifying him as a military historian.

He's one of a small group employed by the Canadian Forces who are gathering the facts and details of today that will make up the official record of the country's involvement in Afghanistan for generations to come.

It is their year-round work that defines the Nov. 11 experience for countless Canadians. But for the corps of military historians, every day is Remembrance Day.

War histories have been around as long as there has been conflict between factions, cultures, nations or ideologies, but the job of an official military historian demands an urgency and sometimes reckless devotion to the profession that is far removed from the academic's reflective perch.

At its safest, Canada's military historians are in constant contact with the bomb-strewn front lines in Kandahar, demanding precise, detailed, written accounts of soldiers' experiences which are recorded in war diaries. From the weather to operational plans and results, to casualties and nuances of the fight, the war diary is the traditional treasure trove for historians...
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