To this day, I can vividly recall how proud I was as a father when my eldest daughter finished her basic training in the Canadian Armed Forces. To see my daughter and her best friend walk down the airport hallway, for the first time, in their full Navy whites was stunning. Their appearance also attracted considerable interest in those waiting at the terminal for their loved ones disembarking from the plane.
As a father, I had substantial angst about my daughter joining the Naval reserve in a time when the world was in chaos after 9.11 and about to go to war. I was fully aware that the Canadian reservists could be called up to serve in Iraq and/or eventually Afghanistan. I do not think any parent with a young adult in the military, in a time of war, does not go through these mixed feelings and emotions.
As the war(s) continued on, reservists and regulars across our country were facing verbal and physical harassment from the far left of Canadian society. As a matter of fact, some Commanding Officers advised reservists not to wear their uniforms in public, whether that be on a plane, a train, a bus, or even a personal automobile, for fear of retaliation.
It was at this point that I have never been more ashamed of some of my fellow Canadians and their apparent disdain for anyone who represented authority. It is one thing to have an opinion about the rightness or wrongness of war, it is a whole different matter to attack those who have put on a uniform and served their country.
Many years later, these two girls, after receiving a university education, are working to serve others in the fields of health care and health research. Both of them are no longer in the Canadian Armed Forces, but they are better people because of their experience(s). And I am grateful for them.
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