Thursday, November 11, 2004

Why I Hate Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day is the one day each year when we remember those who fought to defend our freedom, and those that continue to serve in our armed forces.

And that is the problem. One day each year we remember. And the other 364 days we are more than happy to forget.

For the rest of the year we ignore the freedom for which so many Canadians died. We allow our government to waste our tax dollars and ignore its duty to protect our citizens. We fund our military at such a low level that 40 year old helicopters fall out of the sky, soldiers go to the desert to fight wearing green uniforms, and second hand submarines catch fire.

I hate Remembrance Day because it fills me with shame. Shame for how my country treats those that risk life and limb to defend our freedom.

Today, there will be Remembrance Day ceremonies all over this country, some with federal Members of Parliament from the government in attendance. How can they look the old vets in the eye? Or face presently serving members of our Armed Forces?

Perhaps I am judging them too harshly, for politicians are picked by the people, only doing their will. The present government has faced the people four times, has never changed its policy towards our defence, and has won the most number of seats every time.

The same people who complain about the “Damn Americans” are more than happy to let them defend our country. Freedom is not cheap. Ask any veteran. Unfortunately, Canadians are unwilling to pay even the least expensive part of that price, the portion paid in money, not blood.

When the next war comes, and it will, there will a price to be paid for our lack of preparation, and it will be paid in blood.

Actions speak louder than words. The speeches by our politicians every Remembrance Day purporting to honour the service of those in the military ring hollow. These are just words. It is their actions, the decisions they take with regard to preparing to defend freedom that speak to me. It is the true measure of how they view the sacrifice of those that fought. And it is an indicator of how they will view the future sacrifice of those who will fight and die for this country.

When the Prime Ministers’ plan to increase the Regular and Reserve Force fails to meet its targets perhaps it is because many Canadians already sense that their government does not value their sacrifice.

Soldiers fight for the man beside them, but they join for higher purpose. They join to defend their country, to defend those who cannot defend themselves, and to defend freedom.

Lest We Forget


Andrew said...

I agree that many of our countrymen have forgotten, or never known, the importance of keeping military, of our historic sacrifices, and our obligations to the world (and ourselves!)

But the only way any of us who -do- remember and -do- care can make a difference is by making all of this a part of our lives, and striving to change the minds of those around us. Blogging it is a good start - but also bring all these concepts into conversations with people who may not agree with them as often as possible. It may seem futile - but cvhange enough minds and the job gets easier.

There is no other way - aside from the next big war....

Anonymous said...

You know how I appreciate the sacrifice of others? I phone my grandfather on Nov. 11 and thank him for his efforts during WWII. The reality is that some people will remain blissfully ignorant no matter what you try, so make a difference where it counts the most.

William Frobisher

Anonymous said...

I hardly think that the military should be a top priority anywhere in the developed world. Not when there are millions of people dying of poverty that our military funding could save. All any country needs is enough military to defend itself, and no more. A military with enough size to become and egressive force just provokes war, which is never a glorious or good thing.

Rather than spending more money, we need to spend our money more wisely. The military is not being bathed in cash because the government recognises the need for our funds to go elsewhere, and this, quite frankly, is exactly the truth

Allan "Goldfish" Clark said...

"Anonymous" is a bit confused in "I hardly think...".

The world being a massive bell-curve, and poverty being the sum of poor luck in birthplace and poor ability to affect one's own position, and our budget being a zero-sum, to risk our sovereignty and security to push another country up the bell curve only moves "our problem" to another geography, perhaps our own.

Canada's roles traditionally are to help another country take independent steps forward: defend election sites and such, rather than build welfare nation-states. Guess what kind of wheat grows for independent farmers in Afghanistan?

We do need to defend our own borders. We have a volunteer force, but when those prospective recruits see how we toss aside our veterans 364 days per year, recruiting becomes much more difficult. Not all veterans are wounded, and not all wounds are visible, but each veteran stepped forth when others feared to do so.

We don't need an Arab Spring to make our voices heard, and we risk relatively little in speaking out, whether we have learned ideas, or those whose logic is a bit weak. That way of life and relative freedom, if within undefended borders, is temporary at best -- and then "Anonymous" will be asking "where's the military to protect me?"

Thank a veteran for the courage they have and the sacrifice they have made so that you have the freedom to vocally share your misunderstanding of the benefit of an equipped standing army.