Sunday, November 07, 2010
They Didn't Know - Thoughts for Remembrance Day
It's Veterans' week and Remembrance Day is next Thursday. As usual, I'll attend the ceremonies at the local cenotaph. It's one small simple way to show some respect to all Canadian veterans. Perhaps some of the words below are another way of paying my respects.
In 1914, when World War I began, Canada had a population of 7,879,000. A total of 619,000 Canadians joined the armed forces. Over 60,000 of them died.
They didn't know where they would be fighting, that was confidential.
They didn't know that trench warfare could mean seeing your best friend blown up beside you and then staying in that muddy hole with the dead body for a week.
They didn't know that some generals would see the lower ranks as cannon fodder.
They didn't know that they would receive defective guns that could kill them and not the enemy
They didn't know that their family could be charged for the blanket used to bury them.
At the start of World War II, Canada had a population of 11,267,000 and 1.1 million Canadians joined the armed forces during the course of the war. Over 45,000 of them were killed and 54,600 were wounded.
They didn't know that they too, could expendable.
They didn't know that they could end up in a prisoner of war camp in the Pacific, or in a concentration camp in Germany.
In the Korean conflict, 416 Canadians were killed.
They didn't know that the Canadian government would refuse to acknowledge their contribution or provide them with veterans benefits, for years.
121 Canadian peacekeepers have been killed while on duty.
They didn't know that so many people would forget about them.
To date 152 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.
They didn't know that it would be impossible to recognize the enemy.
So many soldiers have died and many more have been wounded and yet, our government does not provide today's wounded veterans with the long-term support they need. I am ashamed.
I'm also disgusted that I have not received any response to my letter about this issue from my Member of Parliament. I hope that the pressure being applied by veteran's groups and others will eventually result in a better outcome.
What will you do on November 11th?