Sunday, July 4, 2010

Musings on Independence

If you have known me and Steve for any length of time, you would know that we have a four year plan to retire to a life of farming up on Prince Edward Island (what I consider to be the most beautiful place in the world).  It is a dream!!!  A very good dream, and one we are working hard to see through.  You also know that we LOVE this country, we love our neighbors and our community.  OKOKOK, maybe not the politicians, but the rest of it we truly love.  It is sobering to think of somehow "rethinking" our patriotism.  I don't think I should have to.  No matter where life finds me, I will always love and defend this country.  I have been blessed my entire life thus far, and not many days go by that I don't understand that my blessings flow from the way God has blessed this place.  I have had good health, good teaching, good name it.  You also know how I feel about caring for the precious ones who give their all to maintain, defend and preserve my freedoms.

With this puzzle in my mind, I asked a dear Prince Edward Island sister to give me ONE PARAGRAPH on how she perceives her freedoms.  She is much like me -- not to be constrained by one paragraph.  She has given me great comfort in her response.  I know that we can be happy, useful residents in a land with attitudes like hers (only different from ours by the circumstances):

It occurred to me this morning as I was discussing life, my way, with my Morning Glories, that this is basically the cost of freedom for me. I am free to sit on my verandah and discuss life with Morning Glories.  
There are young men and women who will be arriving home in body bags and even if they arrive home walking or limping, they will not be whole because their spirits and psyches have suffered terrible wounds. An Honour Guard ceremony down the Highway of Heroes should never be the end of our commitment to the men and women who carry our ideals of freedom to other nations.

My personal freedom has come at the cost of families being split apart -- part on this side, part that died in POW camps, part that were divided by the Zonengrasse. Some made it over in the cargo holds of ships.

Some were herded off to Canadian POW camps because they did not speak English and their religious belief was to offer no resistance. These were individuals who had fled religious intolerance to make a new, safe home that allowed freedom of religion and language and culture (including dress that was different).

Some lost their citizenship (my Grandfather) because their passports and immigration papers bore the stamp of the Axis Nations (citizenship being determined by who drew what border the day you were born). Some had their citizenship tied into the existence of the spouse -- my Grandmother. Then WWII came along and sons were fighting against nephews and cousins and brothers.

Then the war ended and pleas were sent for aid and they were ignored because those needing the aid were considered, once again, the enemy -- not just victims. We didn't fully understand the ramifications of surrender and the Soviet threat. Life went on.

We entered an era where military personnel -- like Paul -- fully expected there would be another war and were prepared to provide the ultimate sacrifice. That's his personal history. There have always been military in his family -- even if they had IRA leanings. Then came a generation who joined because the military was the best employer available, peace had been so long, they never expected to go into a war zone and so were shocked at the first hint of war in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

Meanwhile, Canada's military were so disrespected by the Canadian public and politicians alike that it was in a sad state of disrepair.

Now we have a generation (not in my household, guaranteed) who have no real knowledge of the sacrifice that has gone before. And, as Canadians, we still do not provide for or pay respect to those who are members of the First Nations of this country.

Canada came of age as a Nation at Vimy Ridge and, as citizens, we must be ever vigilant about the freedom dearly bought that allows me to argue with Morning Glories while some son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister will not make it home whole. As Sir John McCrae expressed: "To you from failing hands, we throw the torch. Be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep. Though poppies grow, In Flanders Fields". Probably why I also have poppies in my garden -- bright, red ones.

We must ensure that the freedom that is Canada's birthright is extended to all its citizens -- old and new. We must ensure that the freedom dearly bought not be allowed to be diminished by imported hatreds or imagined hatreds.

We must make sure that politicians are held accountable and when they hedge about having their personal expense claims examined by the Federal/Provincial Auditors General, they be forced into the light of truth.

We must always hold the torch high.

I hope this provides the answers/throughts you were looking for. Every time a death is reported from Afghanistan, my heart breaks.

So...we here at the Haney Place are fully cognizant of the fact that freedom isn't free, and IS NOT A RIGHT.  It is a privilege and a blessing, which we have been blessed to experience our entire lives.  And when men and women stop taking our freedom to heart, it will be all over for us.  Let's savor our freedom, yes, but join in the fight.  Let's take it personally.  Let's support our men and women in uniform.  The bible teaches us this: 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends




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