No Such Nonsense

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Acts of Spontaneous Patriotism

I spent yesterday afternoon at family reunion outside Lakefield, Ontario.

We left for home around 5:30, zipped down hwy 35/115 and turned onto the 401 a bit after 6:00. As we drove along, passing by Clarington and Oshawa on our way to Toronto, we saw a curious thing.

Flags. Draped from overpasses. Waved in the hands of folks standing on overpasses. Dozens of Canadian flags. Dozens of people on the bridges over the highway, including an elderly veteran in dress blues with medal gleaming.

We hadn't listened to the radio all day - and had no idea why a bunch of people would suddenly get it in their minds to tote their Canadian flags out to a 401 overpass. Then it struck me.

The soldiers.

Last week, 6 Canadian soldiers were killed in an explosion in Afghanistan. They would be coming home about then. This could be a procession from CFB Trenton to Toronto.

And it turns out it was. The bodies of the fallen troops needed to be transported from Trenton to Toronto for autopsy and so a convoy was headed down the 401 a bit behind us.

Those folks on the bridges had heard about the procession on the radio and were lining the route to pay their respects.

I get choked up at this point. It is yet one more reason I am proud to be a Canadian. You see, these weren't just folks from Canadian Forces towns like Trenton or Borden. These weren't necessarily folks with personal connections to the troops. They were just people who wanted to salute the soldiers who had died so far from home - in a war many in the media say we should never have entered and should now leave as soon as possible.

But what does pulling out, and leaving chaos in our stead, do to the sacrifices of these young men?

There is no easy answer. But the flags along the highway yesterday told me that everyday Canadians are proud of these soldiers. No matter what the media tells them.


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