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Wednesday, 05 November 2014 07:00

Those soldiers/vets fighting internal wars should be remembered to

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In recent weeks, with the mindboggling amount of news piercing our brains with rapid velocity including topics such as Tamara Keepness, the immense fallout from Jian Ghomeshi, and the Wildrose Joe Anglin vs. Danielle Smith battle there has been a lot to process.

Of course there has been the recent tragic news involving the Canadian military with the senseless deaths of two of its members. It has fanned the flames of Canadian patriotism on the eve of Remembrance Day and for Canadians there is a lot to reflect upon. Remembrance Day is a day when Canadians pay homage to the soldiers who died in not only the First and Second World Wars — about 100,000 in total — but also in later conflicts.
Some may argue the deaths of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent were not pure terrorist acts, but the acts of two mentally ill individuals who latched on to something radical. Regardless of the argument, it shows the sacrifice and dangers all members of the military face.
It is part of the job that they put themselves on the front line and for that we should take time to remember and thank them for their service and ultimate sacrifices they make for our country which globally is one of the best places to live.
Schools should always hold Remembrance Day programs and teach the applicable history. People should wear a poppy and attend Nov. 11 services.
Lest we forget.
However, it shouldn’t stopthere with Nov. 11.
Besides helping those veterans who have little or no money, there should be another reason to not only reflect but to act.
Besides those soldiers who paid the ultimate price there are other young and old individuals who in their own ways have also “lost their lives.”
A Toronto Star story Sept. 16 highlighted a Sept. 12 report from the Government of Canada’s National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces department which indicated the suicide rates amongst soldiers is high.
From 2004 until March 31, 2014, 160 soldiers committed suicide while between 2002 and 2014, 138 were killed in combat.
The story nor the government report mention the number of soldiers who suffer with unreported mental illness or stress brought on by military exercises, the life or training.
The story talked about how opposition parties have neglected those soldiers and veterans who have had difficulties with post-traumatic stress disorder amongst other mental issues following service.
While the federal government talks about how much is spent on mental health and it needs to be rectified, this country needs to acknowledge and appreciate the suffering suffered by not only military personnel, but by millions of Canadians.
Those in the military have paid the ultimate sacrifice with not only their potential mortality, but for many their day-to-day lives and the clearness of their mental state.
In a country where stores can refuse the selling of poppies (Cabela’s in Edmonton at least temporarily), people steal money from the Royal Canadian Legion poppy boxes or don’t even pay anything for a poppy. Heck, in the province of Ontario, home to the capital of our country, Remembrance Day isn’t even a day off, the country has to do a better job in its overall treatment of current military personnel and its veterans.
If the government does that, its citizens will follow. It won’t take the senseless and unprovoked attacks of those two poor men to have people pay attention to how important a healthy military is to Canada.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece by emailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor