The Price of Freedom

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day in Canada (and I believe across the Commonwealth).

As a society we have paid for the freedoms we currently enjoy with blood, tears and too many sacrifices to count.  Winston Churchill’s words “Never have so many owed so much to so few.” is still valid, more than half a century later.

Tomorrow is a normal work day for many.  Fortunately as I am a semi-civil servant, I have the day off.   Many people for whom this is a stat holiday will take the time to sleep in, go shopping, chores, play World of Warcraft etc. etc.   I will be doing some of those things yes, but tomorrow morning at 11am I will be standing with a few hundred other souls at the Cenotaph paying homage to those that who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and in being there, thanking those that ventured into the breech in various wars and conflicts to uphold Canadian ideals.

If you’ve been following the news you will see that there are protesters in almost every large city in the civilized world (I’m talking about the “Occupy {insert placename}” movement).   I don’t pretend to understand what a lot of these people are protesting.  I read one article that recounted a meeting of protest organizers and, according to the reporter, the only thing that was decided was that they would have no leader, and their platform would be decided by a committee sometime in the future.

I will point out that I’ve read that almost every “Occupy” protest group that is camped out near a Cenotaph have promised to not interfere with Remembrance Day Ceremonies.   That’s really the least they could do, as the reason for the ceremonies is why they’re not all festering in some Lubyanka like prison somewhere.

Protests of a more odious nature were planned in Britain by a group calling for “Hell for Heroes” or something like that.   A group of Muslims who felt it their right to burn poppies and start shouting during the 2 minutes of silence.   The apparently feel that honouring the war dead is honouring soldiers who oppressed their people.   Of course it occurs to me that their use of the word “Heroes” is somewhat ironic…that in their protest they are in fact honouring those they want to deride.   (I’ve always said, “People are stupid”).

I am not addressing that argument.   The group was outlawed by the British Parliament yesterday.   Was it a wise move?  Absolutely, if you want to consider the health and safety of the protesters.    I cannot say that I would react calmly if someone did that here.

But here’s the thing.  I have to ask myself if banning the group for their plans to protest (which the police said were perfectly legal) based on the nature of their beliefs is right?  I ask this fully aware of the dichotomy of my stated view above that I would likely not react well to it.

Soldiers died to protect our freedoms.   That includes the freedom to believe anything you want, and give voice to those beliefs (anti-hate laws notwithstanding).   I believe it was Voltaire who said, “Although I disagree with what you say, I will defend, to the death, your right to say it.”

Is there a line when it comes to freedom of speech?  Unfortunately I don’t think there is.  To start arbitrarily telling people who hold certain beliefs that they cannot believe that…or even that they had best keep their beliefs to themselves is a gross violation of the ideals for which blood was shed.

Which means, sadly, that in many cases we have to live with the ungrateful little dipwads waving their signs and spouting what ever their message happens to be.

I think the best action any veteran could take in the face of such a protest is to walk up, extend your hand in peace and say, “Your welcome.”

To everyone who has fought for us, to everyone who has died for us, to those that have lost loved one, to those that serve and have served their nation in the defence of freedom, I want to say Thank You.



I AM HONOURED TO DO THIS! (debunk a chain email that is)

I received an email today…a chain email.  It was an innocent and heartfelt thing, and I very much appreciated the sentiment.   But,I am a skeptic and hence the chain of events that lead me to typing here.

I mean no disrespect to anyone whose forwarded these, I’m a world-class skimmer and can hardly fault anyone else for being the same 🙂

I never forward chain emails and have been known to send nasty responses down the line as some of these things are just silly (like the one where Bill Gates emails you and tells you you’ll get money for forwarding the email for helping test Microsoft’s email servers /sigh).

This one is insidious and at this time of year plays on people’s heart strings.  The email is full of images of remembrance.  Poppies, pictures of Canadian soldiers, etc. etc.

Wrapped in amongst the pictures is a diatribe about how the ACLU is suing the US Government to prohibit prayer in the US Military.

Okay…2 points.  The A in ACLU stands for American…  and well the bigger point is that its bullshit.

Here’s a link  It contains the text I mention below.

It does play on the emotions though.  I contemplated forwarding it to my address book, simply because of what the email was crafted to convey.  Remembrance and gratitude to those that serve.   But, thankfully I have a strict policy of breaking any chain mail or email that comes my way. For some reason I scrolled down and saw sloppily inserted captioning that made no sense to me.

Babbling about the ACLU…(A stands for American and this was a very Canadian email…if you went by the pictures).

It ends in a very Christian prayer “for the troops”…and mentions “Marines”  (for those of you unaware, Canada does not have Marines).

When what was contained in the email struck me, it made me mad.

I served in the Canadian Military for 17 years.  I am proud of that.  I am proud of our military.   But some festering [expletive deleted] decided that they would forward this nonsensical urban legend, cashing in on a FAKE tribute to Canada’s war dead to ensure it would be circulated!

Its an insult, plain and simple.  Not only to our dead, but those who served, and to Canadians in general.

I’m going to be sending this email to everyone whose address is on the one that was sent to me.    I suggest you do the same if you get it!

Subject:  I am honoured to do this! (Debunk an offensive chain email)

You may have received an email with pictures of poppies, Canadian soldiers, and other symbols of Remembrance.
You may or may not have read the words contained, but if you did you would see that they spoke of action the ACLU are taking to remove prayer from the US Military.

This is an urban legend.  A pure falsehood.

I am proud to do this.  To ask you to spread the word to stop this offensive chain email in its tracks.  The use of the memory of our war dead to spread a lie is insulting to our fallen, our soldiers and our nation.

Pass it on.

The email is below…Wordpress is kind of flaky with images….so its just the text…

LOVE  & PEACE  IN 2011
Did   you know that the ACLU  has filed a suit to  have all  military cross-shaped headstones  removed.    
And   another suit to end  prayer from the  military completely.  They’re making  great  progress. The Navy Chaplains can  no  longer mention Jesus’ name in   prayer thanks to the  wretched ACLU and our  new administration.    

I’m   not breaking this  one.   

If   I get it a 1000 times,  I’ll forward it a  1000  times!

Let   us pray…   

Prayer   chain for our  Military… Don’t break it.  

Please   send this on after a short prayer.  Prayer  for our  soldiers Don’t break   it!

‘Lord   Jesus, hold  our troops in your loving  hands Protect them  as they protect us  bless them and their families for the   selfless acts they perform  for us in our  time of need.   Amen.’
These  Colours Don’t Run

Prayer   Request:
  When you  receive this,  please stop for a moment and say  a prayer  for our troops around the world.
There is  nothing  attached.  Just send   this to people in your address  book.   Do not let it stop with you.  Of all  the  gifts you could give a Marine,  Soldier, Sailor, Pilots,  & others  deployed in harm’s way, prayer is the very   best one. 

They died for us! Can’t we at least Stand Up for them??!!