Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day 2014: And My Promise to the Dead

It's going to be a very emotional Remembrance Day in Canada, especially at the National War Memorial.

For the reasons we all know, for the blood spilled. 

And at the stroke of eleven I will stop whatever I'm doing, and remember those who gave their lives, and honour our veterans.

But for the first time ever, I won't even try to watch the always moving ceremony at the National War Memorial.

Because at this point in my life, in this broken country, I could not stand to see Stephen Harper exploit such a sacred occasion.

Or listen to his hollow words.

YOU CAN BET our prime minister will proudly stoke the fires of Canadian military achievement when he speaks during Remembrance Day ceremonies this year.

And for every one of his platitudes about Canada being a great military nation, there will be a Canadian veteran long since abandoned by Stephen Harper’s failed government policies.

For no Canadian leader has ever exploited the military so much for crass political purposes, while betraying our veterans so miserably.

And to see him at a ceremony to honour those who died to protect our freedoms, the ones he's doing all he can to destroy, would be more than I could bear. At this point in my life, in his filthy Harperland.

Instead I'll remember my noble grandfather who taught me to remember those who died...

And those who survived the horror. 

But also taught me never to glorify war. And to hate strutting little fascists like Stephen Harper and his Con gang.

And although I'll be sorry to miss the ceremony at the National War Memorial, my consolation is that this past summer I got a jump on Remembrance Day.

By spending an afternoon tending to the graves of Canadian flyers, buried in the grounds of this ruined Scottish abbey...

Who receive few visitors but lie in peace in that beautiful quiet place.

Canadians from all over our country, who learned to fly bombers at a nearby RAF base, and lost their lives in the wild North Sea nearby.

Or in the unforgiving highlands...

And I'm always struck by how young so many of them were...

And how much we owe them for sacrificing their lives, when they had so much left to live. 

And this summer when I knelt before them pulling the odd weed from their well tended graves, I also felt like I owed them something else.

A country free and decent and truly Canadian so their deaths will not have been in vain.

Because we're not living in one now.

Which is why I will be supporting our veterans in the next election campaign as they battle the ghastly Con regime.

We will remember. And this is my promise to the dead:

We will not surrender. Ever.

Until this country is free and decent.

And Canada again...

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  1. .. when I see Christmas being marketed and foisted upon us prior to Remembrance Day.. I cringe
    and as political animals take the field.. in their suits.. I cringe even more
    The first are just selling, the second are selling us all out
    and trying to wear the courage of others, who actually stood for something
    as if its a seasonal suit.. and a photo opp..

    That's all I have to say..
    the day belongs to those we lost and the surviving Vets
    and those they loved, left behind.. and all they stood for


    1. hi salamander...we must abandon all notion that we are living in the country we once knew, with the values we once cherished. That country is lying on the floor in a pool of blood, and whether we can save it remains very much in doubt. I think we still can, but the wave of militarism sweeping the country has given Harper the biggest boost he has ever received since the days of the coalition crisis, and saving it won't be easy...

  2. Anonymous8:30 AM

    One of my brothers who served in WW11 told me that as a boy going overseas he thought it would surely be the last war. I will not go to any ceremonies until we are rid of our warmongering PM. If it wasn't for war mongers there would have been no Iraq and no Libya or no Isis and a very different approach to Afghanistan. Instead I have joined Ceasefire and Women for Peace to honour my brothers and protect my grandsons.

    1. hi anon...yes Harper has betrayed our values in the worst possible way. He has destroyed our honourable peacekeeping traditions, and turned us into happy warmongers. And good for you for taking action to try to stop him, for who knows where that dangerous maniac might lead us?

  3. Anonymous8:33 AM

    That young man was killed because he was guarding the war memorial because when the drunk peed on it the event was politicized by the present government and they put guards on there. They should have just grabbed a pail of water and a mop and cleaned it off. It wasn't disrespect, it was just a drunk.

    1. hi anon...As much as I like the sight of two soldiers in kilts guarding the monument, and as fine a young man as Nathan Cirillo clearly was, I too wonder why we need guards at the Memorial. It's not a monument to the glory of war, but to its tragedy. And soldiers with guns at that site works against its intent. But then as we know Harper is trying to make everything more warlike, and he is a traitor to our values...

  4. I came to the same conclusion Simon and for the first time in a long time did not watch the Remembrance day ceremonies in Ottawa. I could not stand to watch and listen to Harpers phony piety. Considering he is in court right now fighting against our Vets to not recognize the covenant that Sir Robert Borden created, with Canadians to always honour our Vets. He established this before the Canadian Vets battle of Vimy Ridge. I stayed at home and observed the 2 minutes of silence with the TV off.

    1. hi Pamela...I was sorry to miss the ceremony, I proudly wear my heart on my sleeve, and the sound of the children's choir never fails to choke me up. But hopefully I'll be able to watch it again next year, after the Cons are evicted from power...

  5. Anonymous2:18 PM

    Steve Harper hid in a closet during a crisis. He didn't even bother to think about protecting the weak and helpless within his caucus. Steve is only concerned about one thing - Steve. 'Harperland' should be renamed to 'Chickentown'.


    1. hi anon...yes we must never allow Canadians to forget about that closet. Not only is it really bad for his phony warrior image, it's also hilarious. Thanks for the link it too was hilarious. And although as you know, I have warm feelings about the name Hog Town, Chickentown works for me...;)

  6. Anonymous3:39 PM

    Six members of my family served in WW2. I too had my own 2 minutes of silence for our fallen at home. I too could not bear the vile hypocrite Harper nor his cabal, attending our Remembrance Day Services.

    Harper is a traitor doing acts of treason, for selling Canada to the most hated country on the planet. Did our young Canadian boys die so, Harper could sell Canada to Communist China?

    1. hi anon...yes as I said in my post I've reached the point where just the sight of the man offends me. But thank goodness our nightmare will soon be over, and I feel quite confident that ten years after he is evicted, I will finally be able to forget him...:)

  7. Agreed.

    I could say a lot more, and on other occasions have about the dishonour Harper has brought to those that served, bled, and died in uniform, but today I shall not, because I would find it most difficult to keep my temper in check. It really hurt to have to avoid the national memorial coverage because of the way Harper has acted since the attack at it a few weeks ago, but it would have hurt even more to see it on this day when I remember those in my family and so many others who fought bled, were scarred, and died, fighting for a Canada that was far better than what Harper's vision of it should be, and who would be utterly ashamed and disgusted to see how far into dishonour he has brought it.

    Sorry, that's as much as I can say without getting fairly poisonous, and on this day I refuse to allow that to be, it isn't respectful.

    1. hi Scotian...I understand how you feel. All decent people in this country should feel the same way. What he has done is unforgivable, and he is going to pay for it...

  8. Nov. 11 radio interview with Ret. Maj. Stephen Fuhr

    Our veterans deserve more than lip service
    by Stephen Fuhr

  9. The June 2014 report by Canada's veterans ombudsman, Guy Parent, says nearly half of the country's most severely disabled ex-soldiers are not receiving a government allowance intended to compensate them for their
    physical and mental wounds. Parent concluded that those who are receiving the permanent impairment allowance, along with a recently introduced supplement, are only awarded the lowest grade of the benefit. "This is unfair and needs to be corrected." Parent wrote.

    In October 2013, Canadian Press reported that gravely injured troops who want to remain in uniform are being booted from the military before they qualify for their pensions, despite assurances to the contrary from the

    A former reserve combat engineer from London, Ont., Cpl. David Hawkins, was let go on a medical discharge after begging for months to remain until he had 10 years of service. He was about one year shy of the date to
    collect an indexed pension, but was released because his post traumatic stress made him unable to deploy overseas.

    David Pugliese (Otttawa Citizen) wrote in his April 7/14 article: "National Defence came under fire in January for failing to live up to a decade-old promise to have roughly 450 mental health professionals on staff. Last December--at the height of the suicides--the department only had 380 of the jobs filled, despite an injection of $11.4 million in 2012 and complaints by the military ombudsman."

    In May, Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino ended a House committee meeting by fleeing from a crowd of reporters and an angry military spouse (Jenifer Migneault, whose husband has PTSD), who was desperate to speak to the minister about support for spouses.

    After Fantino left, Migneault told reporters that families deserve some training on how to deal with their loved ones when they return from military service with mental disorders like PTSD.

    In 1917, Prime Minister Robert Borden said: "When a Canadian enlists, they are promised that if they are injured or killed in service, then Canada will take care of them and their loved ones. This social contract is our
    sacred obligation to those who serve. We Canadians must defend it."

    The government is trying to tweak the Veterans Charter for the second time since 2010. Some Afghan veterans have filed a class action lawsuit currently before the B.C. Superior Court, arguing the new system is less generous and discriminates against today's soldier.

    On March 18, federal court filings were made public detailing the Con argument against the lawsuit: the government has no special obligation to ex-soldiers, and the promise made by Prime Minister Borden
    to take care of veterans was nothing more than a speech by a politician. This was the same day Harper declared: "On behalf of all Canadians, I extend my deepest thanks to all those who served in Afghanistan with such distinction and honour, to protect our own freedom and the freedom of others."

    Last year, at the Con convention in Calgary (Nov. 1) Harper said: "Our troops are coming home with honour!"

    The Cons honour Canada's soldiers with their lips, but their hearts are far from them.

    1. hi David...unfortunately I'm all too familiar with the shameful Con record. I've struggled to understand why they would behave in such a fashion, since they want to be seen as the great friends of the military. And the only way I can explain it is that the Cons just don't care about ordinary people. Period. Whether they are soldiers or anybody else. They are beasts and we must get rid of them...

    2. Right now the Cons are only concerned with handing out goodies for Canada's richest families (income splitting) and balancing the budget in 2015. Harper wants Canadians to forget about the hundreds of billions of dollars of debt his regime has racked up since 2006, and only focus on the one year budget surplus.

    3. Veterans ask serving soldiers for helping defeating Harper in next election
      Published Wednesday, November 12, 2014



      Once the election is called, Clarke said, he intends to drive across the country to each of the nine districts where Veterans Affairs closed offices last winter to rally opposition to the Conservatives.
      He calls it the "ABC Campaign"-- the Anything But Conservative. It's a nod to former Conservative Newfoundland premier Danny Williams, who in 2008 launched his own ABC campaign against the Harper government over a broken equalization promise.

  10. Post Remembrance Day



    Veterans Affairs Canada is the department tasked with delivering services to retired members of Canada’s Armed Forces and the RCMP. Veterans Affairs Canada was the department hit third hardest by federal staffing cuts.

    Military imposter spotted at Remembrance Day ceremony [Photo]