On being Canadian

Deadline day has rolled around again. It is the 11th hour of that dreaded day and my eyes are downcast

Deadline day has rolled around again.

It is the 11th hour of that dreaded day and my eyes are downcast, my hands on my computer screen and my brain whirring as I struggle to come with a column idea.

Usually, as I write and re-write about the ups and downs of the merry-go-round of my life, I find it relatively easy to discover a happy moment, a ray of sunshine, or, if all else fails, I make something up.

Consequently, my hope is that both my readers and me will feel better!

But today, nothing cheerful or particularly lighthearted comes to mind, as I find myself, like Canadians everywhere struggling to come to grips with the senseless killing of the Canadian solider that took place in Ottawa a few days ago.

As I heard the news on CBC radio, the thought slammed into my gut that life is unfair; so unfair.

And we as Canadians are immune to nothing.

The kid was 24-years-old. Still wet behind the ears, as they say. I thought about his mom, wherever she may be, and how she would weep as only a mother can when she heard the news.

I felt tears prick my own eyes as I thought of a young man, doing his duty as honour guard, a young man who had, not all that long ago, been only a boy.

And I thought of countless Remembrance Days ceremonies I have covered, paying tribute to all the young men and women who gave their lives for our country.

They fought in war and they fought for peace.

So is this peace?

The announcer on CBC says the soldiers are being advised not to wear their uniforms in public because they could be targets. They could be gunned down.

The actions of one crazed gunman who shot a Canadian solider point blank has was a grim reminder of the thin line between ‘peace and war.’

The shooting which put the entire downtown core of Ottawa in lockdown has brought patriotism to the forefront for many Canadians.

Facebook is filled with quotes reminding us of our proud Canadian heritage.

And, everywhere, people are talking.

I was in a line up at the grocery store and the lady next to me, a complete stranger who seemed to feel the need to express her feelings to anyone who would listen, plopped her milk and bread on the counter with a vengeance.

Apparently she had heard Ottawa, referred to as Ottawa, Canada, not Ottawa, Ontario from some news broadcast in the States.

“I tell you, we know a lot more about them than they do about us,” she muttered indignantly.

It is true that news of ‘Canada, our home and native land,’ should be broadcast high on mountaintops and everywhere else people will listen.

There is so much good here.

Our great land is stamped with rivers and lakes and forests that stretch far and wide and are almost spellbinding in their beauty.

We have great and wonderful athletes that have brought us great acclaim in the past and continue to do so. We have amazing sports teams.

We have authors and poets that have allowed us, through their words, to travel to places where we could live happily in our minds for as long as our imagination lets us.

Sadly, however, the incident in Ottawa was a news bulletin that should never have happened, let alone one that should be shared.

And it was a grim reminder never to become complacent about our so-called freedom or the life we so often take for granted. And it also serves as a reminder of the debt we owe to the young men and women of the past; present and future who chose to wear a uniform and defend their country.

It is an ongoing debt!


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