Instead of racking my brains to come up with a (likely inferior) way of expressing my gratitude to the troops overseas, I think I’ll just suggest you read this eloquent letter from Lorrie Goldstein in the Winnipeg Sun. While reading it, I was thinking of a girl I used to babysit, now a mother of three and on her third tour of duty in Afghanistan. And I was thinking of Trevor Greene, still in St Paul’s Hospital, still working on rebuilding his life after an ambush and an axe to the head.
While you are reading this letter, never for one moment forget that the decision to go overseas, to become involved in wars, peacekeeping actions, and all such deployments, is a decision that is made not by military personnel, but by politicians. Direct your own letters and thoughts accordingly.
Given the recent lacklustre support by Toronto City Council for the men and women now serving our nation in Afghanistan, we dedicate today’s editorial celebrating Canada’s 140th birthday to all members of our military.
Thank you for choosing to serve Canada, whether you were born here or came here from another country.
Thank you for deciding that Canada is worth defending, both at home and abroad.
Thank you for being ready to sacrifice everything, not just a safe, comfortable life here at home with your loved ones, but your very lives, if necessary, to protect us and those who are in need of our protection abroad.
To the families of all who serve in our military, thank you for sharing your precious sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, relatives and friends with us.
Like you, we pray they will complete their missions and return home safely to you as soon as possible. Like you, we pray for a just and lasting peace.
To those who face the unimaginable grief on this Canada Day, and every Canada Day to come, of missing the presence of a loved one because they died in the service of their country, know that we are thinking of you today.
That we grieve with you. That we pray for you. And that we will remember those you loved, and what they did for us and to help people they didn’t even know, forever.
To their parents, thank you for raising sons and daughters who willingly answered the call of their country.
We will always think of them as the fine young men and women of military bearing, frozen forever in the flower of youth, that we see in the pictures released upon their deaths.
But we know you remember them in a thousand different ways built up over a lifetime of memories — of lazy summer days, at family celebrations and of how they looked on their first day of school, or on the day they graduated.
To the wives, husbands and children of all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country, we cannot imagine the depth of your loss.
But we share your pride in who they were and like you, we celebrate what they did with their lives, because their lives mattered.
And so on this Canada Day, on our nation’s 140th birthday, we remember them, because they represent what Canada is all about at its very best.
Strong, free, honourable, compassionate — and dedicated to the service of others