Friday, November 11, 2005
I've been lucky. No, check that - I've been blessed. I have never had to leave hearth and home to hop the pond and fight a foe I had no personal quarrel with.
I like to think that, were I born 80 years ago, I would have been one of the first on the boat. That was a time when Canada was worth dying for, and I do so love this country.
Now I'm more afraid of the enemies within our country than any external threat.
My grandfather served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII, but didn't go overseas. He served as an airframe mechanic at the training base near Estevan, Saskatchewan.
Nobody else in my family has been connected to any of the wars in the last century.
Yet I've always had a special sanctuary in my heart for our veterans. I think this is at least partially because there was so much emphasis placed on Remembrance Day in school. It distresses me that most schools have today off; this is the one day of the year that I want the government to get a social message through to my kids.
That message is: There are people who gave up their lives to save hypothetical future generations from tyranny. Remember their sacrifice. As a successful participant of one of those hypothetical future generations, I am eternally grateful, and I send my profound thanks through the ages to those who suppressed the oppressors. To those who are alive and remain, I can only stand in awe.
I recall a few years ago, when I lived in Ottawa, our nation's capital, I (and about 15 other people) participated in a protest outside the House of Commons to push for official veteran status for the merchant marines who served on the private ships that carried troops, equipment, and supplies to Europe. They were the ones the U-Boats wanted to sink, and thus it was much more dangerous to be a cook on a private freighter than to be a deck gunner on a Royal Canadian Navy frigate.
I was disappointed by the small turnout for this event, but even moreso was disappointed by a quick walk-by "hello" done by a young member of parliament. He seemed like he was in a hurry; maybe he was late for a committee meeting, or maybe he needed to use the washroom, I don't know. But he should have given those veterans a little more time and courtesy than he did.
Now he's a prominent member of our opposition party, and is poised for a cabinet post should our opposition ever take power. And he didn't have time for the merchant marines.
These young people, they got no respect anymore. They need somebody to teach them some manners.