I can still find a significant number of the bumper stickers, the ones that say “Support Our Troops’, but I am perplexed as to what message that statement is meant to convey.
Does it mean we are satisfied with whatever actions the troops take in their day to day activities or does it mean that the troops have earned our respect and that we appreciate they are doing a very demanding and sometimes dangerous job on our behalf?
I am hoping for the latter, but recent news items would seem to indicate that perhaps we have just been giving lip service to our expressions of compassion toward these young men and women.
I would have thought that anyone who took the job of defending our freedom and who might have suffered serious physical and mental health injuries as a consequence would be entitled to our deepest and most reverent respect.
Through our elected officials we sanctioned their actions and have enjoyed the consequences of their sacrifices.
And we seem to take a great deal of pride in their efforts which we commemorate at Remembrance Day ceremonies every November 11.
But is that where our commitment should end? These veterans are not like Christmas decorations that we can conveniently pack away until the next season. They should be permanent reminders of the cost of protecting our freedoms and way of life; they should, at the very least, be granted the best possible compensation and convalescence we can provide.
Aside from the debacle that was the Minister Fantino affair, there is the ongoing struggle with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and suicides. Again there is an editorial piece on the CBC news net that questions why this issue has not been properly addressed.
There are also issues concerning some living conditions for members of the Canadian Forces.
Yet, despite all these failings we continue to see Support our Troops proudly displayed on bumpers and tailgates. Perhaps it’s time that we showed our true commitment and made some noise on behalf of those whose voice is neither loud enough nor carries enough weight.
How much time and effort does it take to dispatch a short but poignant missive to your federal MP?
Probably about as much as it takes to mount a bumper sticker.