Monday, April 24, 2006

More Flag Ballyhoo


CBC runs a 'reality check' article on the lowering the Flag issue. Where upon they point out;

But the fact is, veterans' groups were not happy when the Liberals first started lowering government flags to half-mast in 2002. Officials with both the Royal Canadian Legion and the National Council of Veteran Associations opposed the idea, arguing it was unfair to the memories of those who died in other wars and who were not accorded the same show of respect. Canada's war dead, they said, should all be honoured the same way and on the same date, Nov. 11, when the country pauses to remember. Their objections, however, were largely overlooked in the huge outpouring of grief and national anger over the fact that the U.S. did not seem, initially at least, to be fully investigating the friendly fire deaths caused by one of their pilots.

Except the Legion never lowered their own flags, even on Nov. 11, until 2003, after sixty years of lowering and then raising the flag, they left the flag at half mast until the bugle calls at sunset. The way it is actually done in the field.

Hey traditions can be stupid, and some traditions, like doffing ones hat for ones comrades when entering a Legion Lounge can be used for racist purposes, like denying Sikh's the right to enter a Legion because they wear turbans.

Even though the Sikh's turban is part of their regimental uniform in the British Forces, ever since the British Raj used them as a military force. Or like the RCMP full dress uniform, since they too are a Military Force. Dress skirts were not part of the uniform until the eighties when women were allowed in to the old boys club.


So lets not get hung up on what the Legion tradtions are. What's the right thing to do?

Indeed, Prime Minister Chretien, the opposition leaders at the time and the country's top military brass all attended a special memorial service for the four friendly fire victims at CFB Trenton – something that is not usually done either. And this politicized aspect of their deaths and the flag-lowering rankled some even more.


Oh and who did it rankle, why the right wing, once again falling on tradition to defend the indefensible. This gathering at the time was seen as a protest against the Bush regime. So said Mr. Military Tradition, Peter Worthington at the time.

Writing an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Peter Worthington, the feisty former editor of the Toronto Sun and a Korean war vet, suggested there was not only a political but "an almost pathologically antimilitary" subtext to the Liberal government's decision to lower the flag. It was reflective, he wrote, of a government that just didn't understand the true concept of military service.


Bollocks. Here let me give you a new military tradition the right wing loves. We recognize Canadians who fought in Vietnam, which was not our war. We sent no units not even as peace-keepers or UN forces. It was not even a war as it was never declared such by the United States government, it was a police action.


Canadians who fought in Viet Nam are recognized now in Canada as 'Veterans' yet Canadians who fought the fascists in Spain are still under a draconian edict that declares their actions illegal. But of course the frormer were fighting communism and the latter were commies fighting fascism.

Military tradition is what ever rites and rituals the military and its veterans accept, they are ameable to the ever present. They are not written in stone.
So enough of this excuse making, its just a cover up for doing the right thing. Like not using bylaws and traditions around doffing ones cap to exclude folks cause of the colour of their skin.






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3 comments:

DazzlinDino said...

I learned an interesting fact about flag raising on military bases in Canada.

Flags are lowered to half mast at the servicemans home base from the time he dies until the sun sets on the day of his funeral.

ALL other bases only lower to half mast from sun-up till sun-down on the day of the funeral.

Just thought I would pass that along. I like the fact that Canada Post is lowering thiers in the same tradition however. As far as the parliament hill flags, I have always thought the tradition should be to lower to half mast while we are involved in a conflict. Not during a "peace action", just actual conflict.

eugene plawiuk said...

Exactomondo and this is not a Peace Keeping Mission, its war.

ShadowLike said...

I agree the flags should be flown at half mast and have written about it over at Out of the Shadows. Your facts on the Royal Canadian Legion a rather offbase. The Legion has always called for our flags to be flown at half mast until the parade has returned from the cenotaph services on November 11th. (at least the 30 years I've been actively involved) And the Legion has admitted women for all of its 75+ years. In the late 70s they started accepting sons and daugthers of veterans, of which I'm one. Although I'm no longer an Associate member, I'm a Life Member. Kudos to the media tonight who found ways of getting video fed of the arrival of our soldiers at CFB Trenton.