Remembrance Day, when we honour the men and women who died fighting for world freedom and say thank you to surviving veterans.
Two years ago, I was really angry when then Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid verbal tribute to “our brave men and women in uniform” while at the same time he was cutting back on pensions and services for the newer veterans. Remember the story of the veteran who’d lost his legs in Afghanistan and had to report in every year to prove he hadn’t grown new ones?
The Trudeau government plans to restore pensions and services to veterans, and will withdraw Canadian fighter jets from the air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. I believe our special troops training Kurds in northern Iraq will remain. I wish the Prime Minister would butt out of wars entirely so we could end this sorry story of damaged veterans. We could seek world peace by other means.
The First World War was supposed to end all wars but a hundred years later we’re still at it. The U.S. has been fighting one country or another for years even though it hasn’t won any since the Second World War. You’d think we’d learn, but no matter what kind of government a country has, the leaders seem to love war games, even inventing reasons for it. I guess the wars have been good for the U.S. economy.
I have a jaundiced view of war. My dad suffered major physical injuries plus post traumatic disorder (called shell shock then) in the First World War.
He survived because he had love and care from my mother, who was a nurse at Ste. Anne De-Belleview, the military hospital where he ended up after the war. They fell in love, she got him discharged in her care. He wasn’t expected to live for very long but they had nearly 50 years together. Not all wounded veterans were/are so lucky.
Today, after observing the traditional Remembrance Day customs, how about making plans to let the federal government know that enough’s enough? No more wars.
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.