The average age of the Canadian military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either. He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and155mm howizzitor. He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his ownhurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low. He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime. He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to ben disrespectful. Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the Canadian Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years. He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood. And now we even have woman over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot.. A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets Prayer wheel for
our military... please don't break it.
So many letter writers have explained how this land is made up ofimmigrants.Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people whytoday's Canadian is not willing to accept the new kind of immigrant anylonger.Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come toCanada, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in Halifax andbe documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kissthe ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their newcountry in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule intheir new Canadian households and some even changed their names to blend inwith their new home.They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their children anew life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilateinto one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare,no labour laws to protect them. All they had were the skills, craftsmanshipand desire they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. Canadiansfought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany,Italy, France, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Sweden, and so many otherplaces. None of these first generation Canadians ever gave any thought aboutwhat country their parents had come from.They were Canadians fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor ofJapan. They were defending the Freedom as one people. When we liberatedFrance, no one in those villages was looking for the Ukrainian-Canadian orthe German-Canadian or the Irish-Canadian. The people of France saw onlyCanadians. And we carried one flag that represented our country.Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up anothercountry's flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have beena disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. Theseimmigrants truly knew what it meant to be a Canadian. They stirred themelting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.And here we are in 2006 with a new kind of immigrant who wants the samerights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with adifferent set of rules, one that includes a Canadian passport and aguarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry, that's notwhat being a Canadian is all about.Canadians have been very open hearted and open minded regarding immigrants,whether they were fleeing poverty, dictatorship, persecution, or whateverelse makes a person adopt a foreign country.And I suppose when we say adopt, we think of those aforementioned immigrantswho truly did ADOPT our country, and our flag and our morals and ourcustoms. And left their wars, hatred, and divisions behind. I believe that the immigrants who landed in Canada in the early 1900sdeserve better than that for the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raisingfuture generations to create a land that has become a beacon for thoselegally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled thatthey are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags,fighting foreign battles on our soil, making Canadians change to suit theirreligions and cultures, and wanting to change our countries fabric byclaiming discrimination when we do not give in to their demands.