Whether referring to today's holiday as 'Remembrance Day' or 'Veterans Day,' we hope that at some point in the day each and every one of us will take a moment to remember those who left our shores to serve our countries, never to return home.
There is no doubt that many millions will be paying tribute to past wars by spending some time with the recently released Call of Duty: Black Ops.Those who feel that reliving the trials and challenges of the Cold War are a worthy tribute may want to rethink their decision, and whether the juggernaut that is Black Ops is doing veterans a disservice.
One veteran of the Vietnam War has spoken out, voicing his opinion that the game's publisher Activision was not taking the holiday into consideration when planning the game's launch.
Ron Parkes of Winnipeg, Canada voiced his concerns about the decision made by the game's publisher, and revealed his own sentiments when speaking with the Winnipeg Free Press:
"I think it is very tacky to include the distribution of a graphic war-based game like this during a week that we are supposed to be honouring those who have fallen to the conflicts this game depicts,
"Remembrance Day is not a consumer advocate’s day and this company is clearly using the date as a marketing strategy."
It's difficult to argue that the yearly release of Call of Duty coinciding with Remembrance Day is a coincidence, but the question is whether that is an offensive or respectful decision. Parkes is not advocating a monopoly on the month of November for war memorials, but pointing out that the game was released only two days away from the holiday:
"They could release it two weeks before or two weeks after and I wouldn’t have a problem with it,"
It is problematic when a holiday is based around honoring the victims of an event that the public is mainly aware of through dramatization. The Vietnam War was certainly more recent that World War I, but the sheer amount of media focused on armed conflicts has had an irreversible impact on society's image of war. To put it simply, armed combat has been given a substantial dose of Hollywood.
"War is always a miserable experience and the movies or video games depicting these wars never really do catch how bad it really is,
"War is a whole different scenario then regular life. You live and breath it everyday you are there, and sometimes those memories, good and bad, still catch up to you."
It's clear that Parkes is simply hoping that the reality of war does not get lost in the romantic or action-packed depictions of it. It would be difficult to argue that a major piece of news, or multimedia release of any kind taking attention away from Veteran's Day would be a good thing. The truth of the matter is far more complicated than simple manners or decorum.
While it may appear to an outsider that a videogame depicting war is devoid of merit, there is something to be said for the experience gained by walking the battlefield yourself. The massive amount of gamers from all walks of life spending time with Black Ops this week doesn't have to be a bad thing. Some could even argue that playing a war game is more of a dedication than simply taking the day to sleep in.
Can Activision's release of Black Ops be seen as insensitive to veterans? Certainly. But if that's the case, then television stations should be equally judged for attracting viewers with films like Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers.
Veteran's Day or Remembrance Day is a time to honor the dead, and celebrate the freedoms that were won with their sacrifice. If that is best accomplished by visiting a memorial service, or hopping into CoD multiplayer, then all the better. If you truly disagree with Activision's decision, then you have every right to avoid purchasing the game.
If recent trends are to continue, there will be a good amount of players honoring the armed forces by stepping into their shoes with Call of Duty: Black Ops on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press