When we heard military housing was dilapidated and much had been condemned, we were outraged and demanded something “be done.”
When we heard some military members were forced onto social assistance because of low wages, we were outraged and demanded something “be done.”
When we sent them into battle, some fell. We stood on bridges, besides roads, in the back of pickup trucks and at every other vantage point we could find. We rendered salutes, waved flags and cried. A final honour for those fallen in the service of our Nation.
When it became clear the Veterans were suffering, again we were outraged and again… we demanded something “be done.”
An impressive list, we can easily believe that we have stood up for our men and women in uniform and give them the support they need.
We would be wrong!
Noticing the plight of military members in dilapidated housing or when they are forced onto social assistance is not support, it is neglect.
Honouring our fallen, and their wounded comrades, is admirable. But ask yourself, “Could we have reduced the numbers of fallen or wounded?”
I remember an old Cold War era joke: “A new kinder, gentler KGB would no longer execute prisoners. Henceforth they would be sentenced to drive an open-topped jeep in Afghanistan.” The joke was made horrifying when Canada committed troops to Afghanistan. Among the equipment sent there, the Iltis jeep, open top and all.We can, we must, do better.
The time to Support Our Troops is not when housing is crumbling, when payrates have forced them into poverty. It is not when they are honoured for sacrifice.
It is during a Federal Election such as the one currently underway. Demand the parties explain, in detail, how they will ensure that the needs of the troops are met. That they have the support, in broadest terms, to meet the tasks they undertake for us all.
Demand to know how they will be equipped, that funds for training won’t be siphoned off to meet other urgent requirements. That we will commit forces to support our Nation, our Allies and those ideals that have made Canada the country so respected in the world.
It is said that a servicemember “Writes a cheque, payable in blood, to the Nation.” It is incumbent on us all that we see to it that that account is truly treated with the respect it deserves.
It is, quite honestly, the least we can do.