The Sacred ground at the “Tomb of Canada’s Unknown” became more hallowed on Wednesday 22 October when the Blood of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shed by a rabid coward who shot him dead whilst he stood honourary guard at the Tomb. As of writing the evidence shows that this coward and the one who two days before ran down and killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in the parking lot in a mall in Quebec both had ties to Terrorists groups and had been radicalized.
We are now involved in military operations against another extremist group called ISIL. In Iraq. Six of our CF-18 Hornets from the RCAF along with about 600 ground support and 62 Special Forces are engaged in bombing ISIL targets or in the case of the Special Forces training the Iraqi army. When the need arises we are ready to go in Harm’s Way. Canada always seems to be there helping to stop aggression and keep the Peace.
One Hundred years ago Canada answered the call from the Motherland, Great Britain and well out of proportion to our population sent over 620,000 (close to 10% of our population)to fight in Europe against German Aggression. After four years in the hell they called the Western Front the war to end all wars, the Great War ended and Canada left 67,000 (just under 11%) of her sons and daughters who fought dead in the fields of Flanders. A little known fact except perhaps to historians we also sent about 4200 troops to Vladivostok to help support the White Russians in their war against the Communists. The Canadian Siberia Expedition Force was sent to Russian in August 1918 and returned between April and June of 1919 with a loss of 14 dead.
On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland. The British government stated formally that unless Germany withdrew its’ armed forces by 3 September a state of war would exist between Great Britain and Germany. Germany did not respond. On September 10 1939 Canada formally declared war on Germany. Once again we stood to in Harms’ Way in defence of freedom. The population of Canada in 1939 was just over 11,000,000 and by the time the war in Europe ended in May 1945 I,000,000 (10%) of her sons and daughters had answered the call to arms and 45,000 paid the ultimate price stopping Germany from possible global domination. In these two great World Wars Canada paid heavily with 112,000 dead and 501,000 wounded in body and mind. One can look at these number and say that compared to the casualties suffer by the allies in both war that is not very much but when you compare the sizes of the other allied military we lost a great deal proportionately.
Again in June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea at the call of the United Nations Canada stepped forth and 26,000 stood to arms and when the conflict ended in July 1953 Canada had lost 516 dead. Since the Boer War in the late 1890s’ (224 KIA) until the present Canada has lost a total of 105,630 of her sons and daughters who stood in Harms’ Way. One could say that the number is not that high considering it is spread out over 100 years but those who say this should realize that Canada has never been a Military power for most of that time and her population was and is small in comparison to the great Military Powers in the world. Only once has Canada refused to stand with an ally and that was when the United States attacked Iraq based on poor or made up intelligence concerning Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was an illegal war and Canada refused to participate. Canada under the auspices of NATO joined in the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban a radical Islamic group and after an 11 year commitment lost 158 dead. Canada has been called often and never found wanting.
Tuesday is Remembrance Day the second most important day next to Canada Day. On this day Canada remembers the courage and sacrifice of who served and those who paid the supreme price for our freedom and way of life.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. (R. L. Binyon)