Saturday, June 16, 2007

There Are Never Enough Flags

This news story caught my eye and I thought I'd share it with you. It's from our ever supportive media reporter Joe Warmington. His views have consistently been pro-troop support. As Joe says, let's "do our part to let the troops know there is still strong support over here on the homefront!"

There are Never Enough Flags

Our soldiers deserve to be welcomed home by thousands of grateful Canadians


WHITBY -- Another dead soldier, another flag-draped coffin and another reminder of why we need to support them wholeheartedly.

We actually don't do enough to say thank you.

It would be nice if every time one of our soldiers came home in a coffin there would be hundreds of thousands of people lined up along the road to pay their respects.

There are some people who do come out to CFB Trenton to do that. It is quite a scene.

But a few dozen people does not cut it. We all know, practically, it's impossible for there to be more. There is a baseball game to get to or a movie. Perhaps dinner with friends -- all the kinds of great things we get to do because of the kind of people like Trooper Darryl Caswell, 25, of Bowmanville.

He does not get to do that anymore. His wonderful family don't get to enjoy his laugh.

It was close, though. He was to be home in 41 days.

Who knows how things would have turned out for him. Who knows how many Afghanistan citizens' lives are better because of him.

In any town in Canada you will find the names on monuments of others who made the same sacrifice but in other wars. They had better do that one day for all of our men and women who have died in Afghanistan.

Freedom has never been free. Caswell and the other 57 military personnel and one diplomat have paid the ultimate price.

While several hundred flag waving Canadians gathered here at the Durham regional building yesterday for a pro-troops rally, Durham's own Caswell was in the air on the way home from Trenton in a flag-draped casket.

His name was not mentioned here. There was a decision to not have a moment of silence for him or any of the other soldiers.

"There will be other events for that," one organizer said. "We wanted to keep it up."

Well-meaning, but I would not be doing my job if I didn't say it's my belief when it comes to the troops and rallies, you always acknowledge the dead.

They are always there anyway. Look for the clues.

It happened when 12-year-old Kyle Meulemeesder was meeting with some Afghanistan campaign veterans who he had been writing letters to.

They picked him up for a photo.

"Get him a Canadian flag," someone says.

He holds up the miniature flag, and it occurs to me something unusual is going on with it.

If you look closely at this photo you will see that the flag had shimmied down the little wooden staff and was standing at half-mast.

Nothing respects those who have perished in battle better.

Whether you believe in symbols or not, the flag finding itself that way was highly appropriate. The message was loud and clear for me.

Strange things sometimes happen when you are dealing with those who die in war.

The people of Durham showed a lot of class trying to do their part to let the troops know there is still strong support over here on the homefront.

So many towns and cities have held a Red Friday. Keep doing it. Meanwhile Darryl Caswell is Canada's latest hero to return from war.

He was hoping to come home to buy a house and find a wife. He gave his life for his country instead.

In our thanks we pray there will not be another one.

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