Canada's National Day of Honour. One of our finest hours

Par Beryl Wajsman le 12 mai 2014

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Last Friday Canada paid tribute to the veterans and the fallen who served in Afghanistan. It was a unique tribute. It was necessary, and it brought comfort and recognition to the families of our soldiers and pride to all Canadians.

There were those who questioned this memorial. They were petty in their criticisms and were silenced by the result.

This was Canada's longest and largest military engagement since the Second World War. Honour was due, lest we forget. And appropriately, it was held a day after the annual commemoration of V-E Day that brought the war in Europe to an end.

Reasonable people could argue about the tactics and strategies of the Afghanistan War, but not about the justice of the cause. Started soon after 9/11, this was a coalition of the willing of broad involvement with sanction from both the United Nations and NATO. Over 35 nations took part, and Canada punched far above its weight, taking on one of the toughest theaters of war in the Kandahar region.

Going into Afghanistan , the free world entered directly into the enemy's lair. As much as other regimes aided and abetted Islamist terror, it was Afghanistan that was ground zero for Al-Qaeda. There could not be any more beating around the bush. The fight had to be taken directly to those who challenged our civilization and sought to impose their theocratic tyranny of terror on the free world.

Could the War have been finished earlier? We will never know. It was a campaign against guerillas fighting in the toughest terrain in the world. A terrain that for centuries has protected criminals from the strength of some of the world's greatest armies dating back to the British in the 19th century. But the success of the mission, both on the military and humanitarian fronts, cannot be disputed.

We cannot foresee what resilience the Taliban will display once the Afghan army takes over from the last of the coalition troops. But the following are facts: Osama Bin-Laden was found and killed; the highest elements of Al-Qaeda have been killed or captured; the terror network's capacities have been radically deteriorated and the Taliban suffered decimation that may not have destroyed it, but has certainly reduced its ability to hold hostage the Afghan people. That's the military story in which Canadian troops played a critical role.

But the betterment of the lives of Afghanis is just as important. And Canada took second place to no other country in the critical role played in that. Hundreds of schools were built throughout that country. Six million girls now attend primary and high schools, an opportunity forbidden them under the displaced Taliban regime. No longer do little girls have to face the fear of acid thrown in their faces or bullets crushing their brains or genital mutilation as they did before from Islamists who deny women the right to dignity and equality. Two-thirds of Afghanistan now has electrical power. The hospital and health networks have been upgraded by 50 per cent. And Afghanistan is now a functioning democracy however imperfect. One can disagree with the allowance of parties based on religious lines, but one has to view with awe the fact that in the face of Taliban threats, over 75% of the Afghan people turned out to vote in recent elections. These are the dividends of freedom.

Canada's combat troops helped beat back the enemy; our Forces' engineering and technical units helped in reconstruction and humanitarian aid and Canadian civil society spearheaded by groups such as Canadian women for Afghanistan led by the indefatigable Lauryn Oates, were on the ground rebuilding lives one family and one village at a time. When commentators talk and write about Canadian values, there is no more shining example of the service and sacrifice needed to assure the survival and success of liberty.

This was a just war. This was Canada at its best with the finest of our young people leading the way. And as we watch in horror as half a world away Islamists again do violence against their own by kidnapping hundreds of girls in Nigeria, the world is on notice that the brave and the bold stand ready to aid those who manifest mankind's transcendent yearning for redemptive change.

Let us steel, our resolve. Let us never forget.

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Editorial Staff

Beryl P. Wajsman

Redacteur en chef et Editeur

Alan Hustak

Senior Editor

Daniel Laprès

Redacteur-adjoint

Brigitte Garceau

Contributing Editor

Robert J. Galbraith

Photojournaliste

Roy Piberberg

Editorial Artwork

Mike Medeiros

Copy and Translation

Val Prudnikov

IT Director and Web Design

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