Friday, December 10, 2004

A death less personal than it might have been

Babble on.

We've just been told the names of the two Snowbirds pilots involved in yesterday's crash.

Capt. Miles Selby, 31, a native of Tsawwassen, B.C. and two-year veteran of the elite aerobatic team, died in the crash. The Defence Department said the pilot of the other jet, Capt. Chuck Mallett, 35, of Edmonton, Alta., sustained minor injuries and remains in hospital.

Rest in peace, Capt Selby. Get well soon, Capt Mallett.

Every time I hear of something like this, I find myself chafing to find out the names of those involved. I worry that it's someone I know, someone I've lost touch with over the years. I visualize an old classmate, or someone who put me through training. I knew Capt Derek Nichols. I didn't know Lt (N) Chris Saunders. I don't know why I need to know a name; the grief arrives no matter what. But I always try to find out as quickly as I can.

Sometimes I think the Canadian Forces would be better off if we all knew someone presently serving. Maybe all of us would worry until we found out a name. Maybe we wouldn't let our federal government equip our friends, our neighbours, our relatives with ancient kit while expecting them to perform at such a high level.

If each accident - each death, each serious injury, each close call for heaven's sake - were a little more personal for every one of us, would we as Canadian citizens finally make our military as proud as they make us?

Babble off.


At 8:25 p.m., Blogger Kateland, aka TZH said...

Well said. Truly, I am awe of our military personnel. They do not know most of our names and mostly they do not have a personal connection with their fellow citizen and though we begrudge them the most basic equipment, they to a man, still would not hesitate to put themselves in harm's way for our sakes.

At 11:59 p.m., Blogger John the Mad said...

Well said Damien Brooks. I am unfortunate enough to have witnessed two Snowbird deaths. One at CFB Trenton and one at the CNE. After the first, as a very young Second Lieutenant,I remember going to the officer's mess and noting how everyone was somehow having a drink and carrying on with relatively normal conversation.

I was shocked until I realized that everyone in the mess was, in fact, very deeply affected. That was simply how they coped. They carried on. It was a tribute to a fallen comrade.

Your post inspired me to write about this one.


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