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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

06 August 2009

Almost Too Good To Miss!

Yesterday I had an interesting experience, I went to a funeral that was almost too good to miss.  While that sentiment might strike you as very strange it is, nonetheless, true.  I'd never met the fellow who died but I've hunted deer with his eldest son.  Terry (his son) and  Janice (his daughter-in-law) gave my wife and I a very generous wedding gift and I thought it my duty to attend the funeral.  Little did I know that it was actually my privilege to attend the funeral.

What made the funeral was the eulogy.  The minister was very upbeat and given the material she had to work with it would have been a difficult task to be anything except upbeat.  The minister also spent time eulogizing Terry's uncle. You see, both brothers had served in World War II. Terry's father in the RCAF and the brother in the First Special Service Force.  The brother was wounded in action in Italy and returned home due to the loss of one eye. 

Terry's father flew a Halifax Bomber.  The minister related the details of one mission where Terry's father lost two engines on one side due to enemy fire and managed to get the plane back to their base in England.  She also related the fact that Terry's father was trained to be a fighter pilot but volunteered for a bomber position at a time when they "... were losing bomber pilots left right and centre". 

In all Terry's father flew 32 missions and for that accomplishment he received the Distinguished Flying Cross

While Terry's father's passing may be regrettable I'm glad to have been privileged to have been at a World War II veteran's funeral and to hear a eulogy that was brimming over with life.

One final note, Terry's father was buried in his RCAF uniform which fit him well 64 years later.

1 comment:

  1. My friend Daniel (not our mutual acquaintance you may be thinking of) had a relative who flex Halifax bombers and flew patrols over the North Atlantic. He had another relative in the Merchant Marine doing the convoy runs to the UK. Another acquaintance had a relative that flew 'Lancs' (Lancasters). Our friend Robert's Grandad flew Hurricanes and was a test pilot for fighters.

    It was truly amazing how a country far smaller in population today stood up and was counted in the battle against Facism and to save a democratic Europe from the Nazis.

    Reflect on Canada's role in both World Wars with a certain amount of awe, because we really were swinging above our weight class in both of them.

    It makes me wonder about the sense of historical perspective the modern generation has. We take 127 deaths in quite a few years of being in Afghanistan and people decry it as too much and that would should come home now, with the job not done.

    We took 64K deaths in WW I when we had about 1/5th the population of today, so to scale to our current population (googled WW1 deaths and looked the stats up on Wikipedia), imagine this as 320K deaths. And no one says WW I was too much and that we should have come home early before finishing the job.

    In WW2, we lost 45K military personel from a population roughly one-third of today. To scale up, that would equate to at least 135 K deaths. No one says we shouldn't have been in the fight against Facism and we shouldn't have tried to liberate Europe.

    Don't get me wrong - I appreciate intensely that we value our soldiers lives more today. But the Taleban were and are (or at least the worst of them, since they're a diverse lot thrown under that monicker) every bit as bad as the Nazis and probably far worse than the Kaiser's Germany.

    I'm not sure if the main difference is that the people we are trying to help are non-white/non-European generally, the fact that the war is a thornier one to wage with more ambiguity in a lot of places (which probably whitewashes many ambiguities in the prior world wars which our simplistic view has washed away), or is related to our moment by moment media coverage and instant punditry and commentary on all aspects of the war in a way prior generations never envisioned. Or perhaps this is the inevitable byproduct of having let a bunch of left-wing folks who use truthiness instead of the truth be the masters of our educational edifices.

    One way or another, we seem to think our soldiers are worth either 2500x more than in WW I or 1000x more than in WW II.

    I'd say our sense of historical perspective is seriously broken.

    Personally, I'm honoured by the sacrifices of all of our veterans, old and new. I'll even go further and say I'm honoured by all of the veterans of the Allied causes in the first and second world wars. In both cases, they fought against militarily adventurous regimes intent on conquest by main force and I think that is something generally best opposed as an international behaviour. And they laid the almighty beat-down on the Nazis, something well deserved. And they fought the creeping of Communist dictatorship in Korea as well, Canada's forgotten war.

    I'm equally honoured by the service of our modern veterans, who secure our borders, help us help others elsewhere in the world, and help us project Canadian values into places in the world that badly need them.

    We're very fortunate in this country in so many ways. I just wish more folks appreciated that a goodly part of this has been our preparedness to take up arms when necessary and the importance of having a core of citizens willing to do this at need and for their country.

    God Bless all of our veterans, from times past and times present, and all of our active service personel, wherever they serve our nation.


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