Again - there is sad news from Afghanistan for we Canadians. Again - the sarcasm and humour that I so lean on to guide me through things around my blog - are not fitting in this post.
I am hard pressed to find words to express my thoughts and feelings. I think that I , however, ought to try. My own brother knew some of the boys killed - that makes it more than just my being Canadian that causes me to pause and write this. It feels like in some indirect way that I knew them. That it could have been - and still could be since he will tour again- my own brother. It is that I don't want these lives to be in vain. I want them remembered and talked about. I want us to be proud of them - and to give them the respect they and their families so deserve. Does it matter that only a handful of people read this - not so much as it matters that it is written.
It seems sadder still that one of our own Hamilton boys - a former Olympic contender - was killed by friendly fire. Graham died on Monday when an American jet mistakenly mistook our soldiers for the Taliban. Please don't get me wrong - I don't hate all Americans nor do I blame the soldiers flying the plane directly responsible for this mistake. I believe that a mistake in protocol is evident. I think the people higher up need to re-examine their methods and our manner of communication with our allies needs to be looked at. Sadly, Graham is not the first to die this way - in 2002, four other soldiers were killed in a combat exercise in Kandahar. Although deaths by friendly fire are an accepted thing in war - it is none the less very disheartening when it happens. I certainly don't know all the facts but, I hope someone out there re-examines the measures taken to assure that everything possible is done to prevent a repeat occurrence.
Four other soldiers will come home this weekend draped with our flag as they are put to rest and forever held in our hearts; Sgt. Shane Stachnik, Warrent Officer Frank Mellish and Warant Officer Richard Nolan (all based at CFB Petawawa, Ont) and Pte. William Jonathan James Cushley.
As I stated earlier - I myself didn't know these men. But something about their deaths touched me so deeply, that I found myself sitting on a bench with tears streaming down my cheeks while my children played at the playground this afternoon. Perhaps something to do with the empathy inherent in every Mother's heart when she thinks of a mother somewhere who will never again get to hold her child. I thought of the children who had to learn that their Daddy wouldn't come home to them. I listened to my children laughing and I felt my heart breaking. I held the kids hands so tight on the way back to the car - I think they thought I'd lost my mind. I must have hugged them a hundred times. I figure I might as well just hold on as tight as I can for as long as I can - simply because I can.
As Stef suggested, when 911 comes let's offer up our thoughts and prayers to all of the people who were victims of the original attacks -- and all of those that have given or lost their lives since as a direct or indirect result. Each and every one of them was someone's child.