Today, we pause to remember.

Not only those who lost their lives so many years ago, fighting for the freedoms and liberties we take for granted far too often, but all the brave Canadian soldiers who have lost their lives in the line of duty in more recent times, protecting the lives and freedoms of others in peacekeeping missions around the world.

Thank you.

11 thoughts on “Today, we pause to remember.

  1. joL

    Laila, I do not observe Remembrance Day.

    My father served during WW II. I learned from him how badly the government treated its soldiers in the past (e.g. a criminally-faulty production of rifles by a Canadian manufacturer seeking to make huge bucks by producing useless weapons – a “friend-of-government” costs thousands of lives, leaving all soldiers helpless on the battlefield with misfiring weapons as the enemy slaughtered them). That’s just one example that has been riveted to my brain for decades after first hearing it.

    Fast-forward to the Canada of today, it’s worse. A few months ago, CBC’s The Current interviewed an Afghan war veteran who had been grievously wounded, went through agonizing rehabilitation for his multiple injuries, retrained and successfully applied for a job with the Canadian military’s intelligence unit (a desk job where his paraplegic status was not an impediment). No hand out, no charity, got the job on the merits of his skills and abilities.

    Now there’s someone to celebrate, no? No, apparently not. Several years after excelling at his job, according to his personnel file, he learned that his employment was being terminated. Why? The military introduced a rule that people serving in the intelligence unit had to be capable of field combat. No grandfathering in existing positions, nothing. He is now suing the government.

    Second story from a week ago. On CBC’s The House. Canadian vets were protesting on Parliament Hill. Why? Wounded Canadian vets’ pensions have been changed by the Harper Cons. Instead of getting an annual pension, wounded vets now get a modest lump sum. I cannot recall the exact figures off the top of my head, but the order of magnitude and gist of the change amount to this: rather than getting about $4,000 a month for life (or until retirement), they now get a one-time $250,000 lump sum payment.

    Even though that is a drop in the bucket compared to the $2 million they’d collect over an average lifetime, that lump sum sounds pretty good, eh? They should be able to put that in the bank and earn interest. Life of Reilly. Problem is, they can’t put the money in the bank. They have to use that money to buy wheelchairs, renovate their homes, pay for care staff, etc., and it’s gone pretty quickly. Then, they have to somehow afford to feed and clothe themselves and their families for the rest of their lives. No wonder there is a growing population of homeless vets.

    Lastly, I highly recommend you reading today’s “Gangsters Out” posting:

    “MacKay marks Remembrance Day in Kandahar: Torturing prisoners and cutting half a billion dollars for Veterans. Yeah we remember. Lest we forget. Another Harper U turn: Recent events suggest that despite its past rhetoric about transparency and accountability, this government is determined to silence whistleblowers rather than protect them.”

    Embedded links to “torturing prisoners” and “silence whistleblowers” are provided at:

    http://gangstersout.blogspot.com/2011/11/mackay-marks-remembrance-day-in.html

    Remembrance Day is a PR campaign for war. The purpose of Remembrance Day is to glorify war so that friends of government can continue to profit from the production of weapons of war, and to entice our young people to “give their lives”. I won’t be a party to that.

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    1. Laila

      While we will have to agree on disagreeing on the observance of Remembrance day, your comment is brilliant, pointed and very timely. Veterans issues have largely been ignored and unfortunately you are bang on with regards to the governments handling, or lack of handling as might be more appropriate to state.

      For myself, however, I feel it is vitally important to respect and honour those who have committed to represent our country and all of us as Canadians, regardless if I disagree with Canadas policies or involvement in fights that may or may not be ours to involve ourselves in. Serving our country is a noble choice and highly personal, and I will always take time to honour those who have made that selfless choice in our name.

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  2. Lynn

    To JoL:
    The gov’t inability to do the right thing will never change. You are the change.

    November 11th at eleven hundred hours is the singular moment we aa a nation honour the memory of those who made the greatest sacrifice, and to those who fought and deal with the memory of battlefields.
    November 11th is not a day to honour government or their business partners.
    It is a day to honour fellow neighbours, family members, friends.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

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  3. Lynn.
    Exactly.
    joL. Take the opportunity to support the Vets in their struggle for their rights. Especially given the state of world politics.
    Laila. Thanks. I hope your leg is healing and I hope your candidate wins the election.

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  4. I am with Kim. Remembrance Day is about the Vets – the people that went for all the right reasons. Remembering them is a good thing. The government is screwing them around like it screws around many of us, but those former soldiers still deserve our respect and to be honoured even if the government does not.
    I like to watch this video today.

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  5. Quibbler

    joL, I can understand your anger when it comes to this issue. Many is the time I feel the same way, especially when I see the likes of Harper and McKay mouthing off about how proud they are of our service men and women. Knowing full well what they intend to do to them, and their families once they’re back home. Those ‘men’ (I use the term loosely) whose own sons will never see a battlefield, but are instead being groomed to send our future generations to war in an effort to keep their stanglehold on governance.

    But then I think of past family members lost, and those still in foreign lands forever…I have to remember ‘why’ they did it in the first place. To create a better life for those following, and a safer existence for those at the present. Don’t let the actions of todays hideous governments and the businesses they serve, be the fault of those who fought and died in the past…in an effort to insure we’d never have the problems we do today. Democracy is a living, breathing entity – if you don’t feed it with truth, and water it daily with vigilance – it will die. That’s our responsibility, our failure.

    If they could see us now from the grave, I’m sure they’d weep…and ask us “how could you have let this happen?” I ask how we’ve let it happen! We’ve stolen the future of our kids, ignored the plight of our elderly (the people who truly did give us the quality of life we have today)…and shamed those in uniform by not standing up and maintaining what they died for. Democracy. We shame those in uniform now, by mistreating and abusing their rights to the care they deserve when they come home broken. Canada has now become the poster-child for SHAME.

    Let’s not ignore those who paid the physical and eternal price for our freedom, to them we owe a huge debt of gratitude – every day – but, let’s not lose sight of how much we’ve lost and given away, of the freedoms they died for. Those losses, and the filthy governments now standing over us – those are all at OUR feet, the shame we wear daily. I do observe Remembrance Day, but never at a cenotaph, I remember at home in silence…my thanks are given quietly, because I do agree with you…today’s celebrations are a PR scam by governments not fit to tie the shoes of those who died. For all.

    May those who did die for us – forgive us.

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  6. Henry

    A good day to remember that we are still a sovereign nation and it is still worth fighting for.

    Imperialism 101:
    http://www.michaelparenti.org/Imperialism101.html

    Michael Parenti, writes in Imperialism 101:

    “A comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.”

    “Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere—frequently assisted by the sword.”

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  7. Gloria

    There were six members of my family in the military during WW11. I have heard many war stories in The Royal Canadian Legions, belonging to the Legion Ladies Auxiliary. Even after all those years ago, they still have tears in their eyes when they talk about their buddies dying. There are many horror story’s of what happened to our young Canadian boy’s. They fully deserve to be honored and remembered. There were many mistakes made by the leaders in that war, senseless mistakes. Our boys paid dearly for those mistakes.

    I could never honor Harper’s government. It makes me furious he even has the gall to attend the Armistice Day services. I read, Harper is a Neo-Nazi. He founded the Northern Foundation and is a Reformer. The skinheads assisted Harper to organize that party. This was in 1989. So, Harper conduct towards the war veterans, doesn’t surprise me in the least. It would be a frosty Friday in hell, before I would ever join the military for the likes of Harper. And go to war for him??? NEVER.

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  8. erik andersen

    So instead of posting a remark about Novemeber 11th here is my suggestion as policy for Canada’s military.
    First off all regular military folks we need for defence and defence of our country only, are volunteers who would be supported with good equipment, a decient salary and a variety of insurance policies designed to look after their wealfare and that of dependents in the evident of injury or death on the job.
    Secondly for any assignments outside of Canadian territory there be a national lottery that selects men and women between the ages of 40 and 60. These draftees would be required to carry out international assignments deemed needed by the government of Canada. The only exemption from being on this list is a serious illness supported by three doctors unknown to the draftee. All employment of draftees would be protected and comensurate wages and benefits paid by the government of Canada while on duty.

    Can you imagine Mr. Harper thinking this a good idea? Not in my lifetime.

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  9. Lynn

    Enough!
    For god’s sake.
    1 day of Rememberance. 1 day a year to remember those who lost their lives.
    1 day a year to think in terms of comfort thought for those who witnessed the scurge of humanity and whom when eyes are closed relive those horrifing moments night after night.
    There are 364 days we can we bicker about shoulda, coulda, woulda,
    It has been said the sacrifices of the men and women of the armed forces fought for our daily freedom, but are we unable to set aside comments for 1 day to give thanks. To offer kind words of comfort.
    Is that too much for us to give up?

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