Saturday, August 06, 2011

Fredericton Regional Museum

Monday, August 01, 2011

NB Day. Sort of.

Today was New Brunswick Day, a civic holiday (every province and territory has some version of this).

The day started off with an anti-fracking protest at the legislature. Fracking is a huge issue here right now, with gas companies moving in and doing seismic testing, the broke province eyeing the gas companies' fat chequebooks, and citizens freaking out over the stories they're hearing from communities in the US that have been affected by this practice.

We got there after the speeches were over and as the protest was about to break up. CBC estimated that at its peak there were over 1000 people there. On a holiday in 28 degree weather in a generally apathetic province, that's a pretty good showing.

The first Monday in August is also Armed Forces Day, so the city basically puts no effort into any kind of NB Day celebrations or observations whatsoever and says, "Meh, go see what the army guys are doing, that'll be your NB Day celebration." Which is entirely unfortunate in my mind because it means Armed Forces Day has eaten NB Day in Fredericton, and all we have for families to do is to go let their kids crawl around on tanks and APCs.

See, artillery just doesn't say "Family Event" to me.

But, Husband is by education a Military Historian and interested in things military (as am I to some degree), and there wasn't anything else on today, and it certainly isn't the fault of the good men and women of the Canadian Forces Base Gagetown that they're the default NB Day event in Fredericton, so we dropped by anyway. And some of the displays are about saving lives, not taking them, like the ambulance station or this awesome drone camera that two soldiers educated us about. It saves the lives of soldiers by letting them know via video what lies ahead.

This thing is amazing. The wings are flexible and can wrap around the body of the drone, and the whole thing can be transported popped into a tube-shaped carrier.

I also took a photo of an Armed Personnel Carrier (APCs). These are the vehicles that so many of our soldiers are killed and injured in when they hid roadside bombs, or IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in milspeak.

I took a photo because those things are small inside, man (that kid was only about 6 or 7 years old), and you can hardly imagine what it would be like to be packed in there with five or six other people carrying full gear in 40 degree Afghan heat. To imagine being in one that hit a bomb is only sheerest hell.

So that was NB Day. You could chant in a protest or stroll around on the grounds of Old Government House looking at things martial.

Or you could do both!
Many of the sign-carrying protesters headed to Old Government House after the protest ended but never really re-converged into any kind of a coherent re-protest. It was hot. And there were distractions.

It would be so nice next year if the city council got off their collective duffs and organized something in Officer's Square for parents without vehicles (Old Government House, where the Armed Forced display is, would have been quite a walk for a family with little kids in the heat today). I don't begrudge Armed Forces Day whatsoever; I just think the city should offer an alternative for people who want to celebrate, you know, NEW BRUNSWICK, or parents who don't want their kids to spend the day crawling around on a real, honest-to-god tank.