December 17, 2008


I know the headlines are all horrendous these days. Our houses (if we have them) are worth less, our jobs are shifting like sand under our feet, our savings are rolling off the table like spilled milk, and we have a Prime Minister who inspires nothing but dread. As we once looked to the U.S. leader with fear of what he might do next, we now look to their incoming leader for some hope and change we know we won't find here.

But, as Christie Blatchford points out so poignantly today, there are more important things. We have dead kids coming home and they're being ignored by television. They should be carrying a live feed. I read the other day that of the over 4800 troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan from the U.S., we rarely see the flag-draped coffins arriving down the ramps of planes. To pay a tiny shred of respect to the dead. That's because ol' W has done his best to keep the truth under wraps, though Freedom of Information Act attacks finally forced him to reverse his stand. Why stir up emotion by having people actually see what's going on? What's the value in getting all sloppy and emotional during a time of war? Now, with the sheer number of dead, he's getting his wish, in a way. They'd practically have to run a loop of these sad images around the clock to keep up. And of course, that would be too boring.

Canada, under no such directive, is still effectively doing the same thing. I agree with Blatch - TV stations should be paying respect to these returning soldiers. Cut into the soaps or inane newscasts and show people what's going on. Remind people of the sacrifice going on in our name, and show the loss suffered by those families now setting one less place at the table.

Show us the 4-year-old girl whose Daddy won't be taking her skating on Christmas, as planned.

In a time when we are all losing, remind us that some are losing the most.


Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

Stand on an overpass on the 401 heading west from Trenton (appropriately named The Highway of Heroes)and tell me you feel nothing... it's happening way too often.

Last Saturday morning up here in Peterborough, there was a huge memorial service for Cpl. Mark McLaren. Somehow I had forgotten this was occuring and I was running errands that day. After the service, streets were blocked off as the enormous procession of cars, trucks, buses and people slowly made its way from the Armoury. Traffic was delayed for some time. It was all quite poignant and emotional. No horns blared. People sat in their cars with their heads down. Some stood beside their cars and squinted into the distance. Many wiped a tear from their face. I turned off the radio and sat in silence. Even pedestrians were standing still; some younger folks nervously looked around, not knowing how to react.

We react as individuals in a manner that suits us.

That morning, in a small town on a bitterly cold morning, time seemed to stand still.

None of these fallen brave men and women deserve to be forgotten by their fellow countrymen. Smirkin' George will only be around for days. We can only hope that President elect Obama will allow the sons and daughters of the US return with dignity and compassion and be recognized.

Lest any of us forget.

December 17, 2008 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ozzie: Agreed...We have put our soldiers, the next, up and coming great citizens of this country, in peril. You cannot fight a war with plastic knives and forks, with the odd hockey stick thrown in. That should have been the first consideration before even entering into this conflict. We are being sold a bill of goods, that is totally flawed. Bring them home, and I mean, ALIVE!!! We have perhaps the worst equipped military on the planet, yet, are being asked too do so much. Harper should hang his head in shame...


December 17, 2008 1:45 PM  
Blogger Nursedude said...

As someone who has been on all too many of the bridges and overpasses along the 401 during a "repat" I take more than a little offense at the notion that we are "ignoring the dead kids". Blatch usually has it down pat when she talks about these things but if she's talking about Canada she's missed the boat entirely this time.

Perhaps things are different in the shadow of the big smoke but I can assure you that there are many of us in the towns to the east of you who care very deeply and make sure we get out and stand in tribute for those who have stood on guard for us and paid a far higher price than we ever will.

BTW: Anonymous said that Harper should hang HIS head in shame? Who put the troops into Af-stan in the first place? Cretien. And who made the decision to go into active combat? Paul Martin. Good Grief. if you could blame Harris you'd probably trot that out too.

December 17, 2008 3:34 PM  
Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

Actually, I believe Bob Rae may have played a role in this somehow, too... ;->

Seriously, it's not a competition to see who stands the tallest or longest; I believe that it's safe to say that the majority of North American citizens would prefer to have all serving troops home, regardless of where they serve, especially at this time of year.

I note that Nursedude, you're from Cobourg - in the heart of "repat" central. Too many times have people paid tribute standing on the Highway of Heros overpasses; I fear that by the time all troops are home, the number of individuals that died serving their country (Canada, specifically) will be significantly greater than the present 103.

Regardless of whomever made the decisions (and let's not lose sight of the fact that it was not one politician, but rather a number of highly-paid civil servants) as hard as they may be, are not, one hopes, made lightly. Right or wrong, North Americans believe that we are the defendants of democracy. Perhaps. But let's hope that Canada does not end up being tainted as a schoolyard bully as our cousins to the south have become perceived.

Misguided intent is even more dangerous.

How can any country still honour commitments made to treaties long ago without putting brave men and women in harms way?

I do not condone anyones actions, but as a hapless individual said years back, "Can't we all not get along?"

December 17, 2008 4:28 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Blatch isn't saying Canadians don't care - she's noting that the media, specifically TV - seem to not care. And I agree. For those of us further west, I believe the arrivals back to Canada, and the procession on the 401, should have more coverage.

And more and more. This is too important; I've noted before (my Remembrance Day column) that more than one political party has been at the helm - I just think the loss of life is beyond politics.

December 17, 2008 4:39 PM  
Blogger DJW said...

There is at least one Ramp Ceremony at K.A.F. every day.

We only hear about it when Canadians are killed.

Our Troops are fighting an almost invisible enemy too cowardly on the most part to face us, they choose to set off bombs by remote.

And why?

One example: In 2001 there were less than 100,000 students in Afghanistan, all of them male. By 2007 that number rose to over 1/2 a million, 30% of them female.

Do our troops need our support? Yes, now more than ever.

Do they need better equipment? You betyerass they do!

Christie Blatchford is more qualified than most journalists to comment, having been there, with the troops, in the field. Read her book, every word rings true to this former soldier.


December 18, 2008 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really doesn't matter who sent them there. The point is they are there doing a job and they need our support. These men and women are seeing and dealing with things most of us can't even begin to imagine. One only hopes if it was our country someone would step in to help us.


December 18, 2008 8:00 AM  

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