My Message on Remembrance Day

Six years ago, and at this time of year, the Canadian Military was on one of its most important missions in modern times. Afghanistan. I asked my audience to pay attention to the story of a group of 14 children in Afghanistan, aged between eight and ten. They were about to attend their final day of class and find out whether they would be advanced to the next grade. I am talking about kids in Grades 3 and 4 and 5. Is there a human being reading this who has any reason why these fourteen children should not be allowed to get their schooling and get their chance at tasting the fruit that comes from the tree of knowledge, at tasting what life can be like for the curious, the thoughtful, the hardworking? Is there a human being reading this right now who thinks these children are not worthy of having a life in which they grow up and get married and have children who have a chance to walk to their neighbourhood school and have the life cycle play out as it does in this country every day, this blessed country called Canada? Well as you know, Afghanistan is not Canada. More than one hundred of Canada’s finest have paid a heavy price so that what happened on Sunday December 28th, 2008 never happens again. Here’s the way Associated Press reports what happened on that day in the Eastern Afghan province of Khost:

“'A single-file line of school children walked past a military checkpoint Sunday as a bomb-loaded truck veered toward them and exploded, ending the lives of 14 young Afghans in a heartbreaking flash captured by a military security camera.' The video shows an SUV slowly weaving through sandbag barriers at a military checkpoint just as a line of school children, most wearing white caps, comes into view. They walk along a pathway between the street and a wall, several of them pausing for a few seconds in a group before moving forward again. The vehicle moves toward the security camera while the children walk in the opposite direction, nearly passing the SUV when the footage ends in a fiery blast. Photos of the bombing’s aftermath showed bloodied text books lying on the ground beside small pairs of shoes. A doctor at a hospital near the blast, said the children were aged 8 to 10. U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, said he believes the militant network run by warlord Siraj Haqqani was responsible for the attack. ‘The brutality and disregard for human life by terrorists is sickening, as I continue to witness innocent men, women and children being killed and maimed in the pursuit of this pointless insurgency,’ McKiernan said in a statement. The blast in Khost province came only hours after a late-night rocket attack in Kabul on Saturday killed three teenage sisters. McNorton said that attack ‘also reminds us of the true impact this conflict has on those who play no part in it.’ The year has also been the deadliest for NATO soldiers since the 2001 invasion to oust the Taliban. In the south, a roadside bomb killed two Canadian soldiers and two Afghans working alongside them in a dangerous region of southern Afghanistan, Canada’s military said Sunday. In addition to those killed inSaturday’s roadside bomb attack, four Canadian soldiers and one Afghan interpreter were wounded, the military said. NATO officials have said that Canadian troops have suffered more deaths per capita than any other foreign military in the country. More than 100 Canadians have been killed."

Canadian troops, it was being acknowledged all over the world, were suffering more deaths per capita than other foreign military in Afghanistan. Those who know Canada’s proud history of helping those who cannot help themselves, know that we own this statistic. We did more than our fair share in World Wars I and 2, in Korea and many other missions.

We aren’t just known around the world for how fiercely we play hockey. We are equally fierce in our protection of the children of the world. I know that some people who listen to my radio program enjoy emailing me and calling me names - right wing, far right wing and terms I won’t repeat. What aggravates them more than anything it seems, is my unflinching, unwavering support for our Canadians in Uniform who don’t need me to tell them about what went on in Afghanistan over that weekend, who don’t need me to tell them about 14 children who just wanted to go to school to find out whether or not they were advancing in life, when their lives were stolen by the forces of darkness who don’t believe in advancement, who don’t believe in progress, who don’t believe in human rights - who don’t just believe its ok to murder their own children, but its ok to celebrate it. They believe that dancing to celebrate life is a vice, but that dancing to celebrate death is a virtue.

This repulsive ideology which imprisons millions, is what our Canadian Military fought against. We won almost every one of our fights in Afghanistan. If the Canadians Forces were a sports team, they’d be considered a dynasty. More successful than Gretsky’s Oilers, or Joe Dimaggio’s Yankees or Rocket Richard’s Canadiens or Kenny Ploen’s Blue Bombers. Our Military doesn’t get the kind of publicity sports dynasties get. The Canadian media is coffin centric. If one of our soldiers comes home in a box, there will be publicity. If a member of our military rescues children who are being boxed in by medieval evil, that’s generally not considered worthy of the iris of the media lens. Thousands and thousands of children are advancing in Afghanistan and will have a better shot because of the Canadian men and women who make up our military. I make no apologies for supporting them. For me it’s not just national, not just about my citizenship. It’s personal. Not one member of my family would be alive today if it weren’t for the contributions made by Canadian men in uniform in World War II. Not one.

And whether or not you embrace or oppose what I have to say, you can fairly conclude that I would not be alive today, if it were not for what our Canadian troops did six decades ago, helping to liberate the countries of Europe where members of my family and many millions of others were marked for death. They were no different than those children in Afghanistan, who weren’t asking for much by Canadian standards. Those fourteen little kids in Afghanistan, on Sunday December 28, 2008, were looking for a simple sign that their lives were moving forward, from Grade 3 to Grade 4 and from Grade 4 to Grade 5. What kind of rotting, ridiculous excuse for a human being would even contemplate the idea of turning those 14 precious children into particles of dust? And what particle of humanity is coursing through the veins of the political parasites in our country who try to convince our countrymen that what our troops have done in Afghanistan doesn’t really make a difference? This is a free country, and they have the right to say it and the right to campaign on it. But I too have a right to speak my mind.

I am a son of Canada. And I also happen to be one grandson of a great old gal by the name of Elizabeth who told me back in the days when she was able to speak to me over tea, that if I ever encountered a Canadian soldier active or retired that I should thank them for her life. Thank you Soldier. On behalf of Grandma Elizabeth and all the other fine men and women who are as grateful as she is, I want to say that no Canadian in uniform died in vain in 2008 or any year. Not one drop of Canadian blood has been shed on those distant battlefields in vain. Every one of those missions had a purpose. It was always centered on defending the defenceless, containing the callous, and restraining the ruthless.

God bless our sons and daughters who serve in the Canadian Military. God bless the Canadian Military that has given millions of children in Afghanistan and many millions in the course of human history the opportunity to have a life and to have the opportunity of creating new lives. We have an outfit called Statistics Canada. They have statistics on everything I’m told. But there is one statistic they do not have- the amount of people who are alive today because of the noble deeds of our military. I can assure you the number is more than ten times the population of Canada. I don’t say this because I’m a patriotic Canadian. I say this because I know that I owe my very existence to them and have been blessed to meet many others who I have this in common with.

How do I pay the Canadian military the debt I owe them? The most honest answer I can say to you is this - I can never repay the debt. I owe them everything and then some.

What do we as a country owe them? Our most profound respect and gratitude.

If you are serving in a Canadian uniform anywhere in the world, or if you ever have, or you are the mother or father or sister or brother or grandmother or grandfather of a Canadian Forces member, please accept our Thank You from coast to coast to coast for your family’s service to the Canada. God Bless the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy, The Royal Canadian Air Force and all the families who support them. In thy son’s command, we stand on guard for thee.

I’m Charles Adler