How high to fly the flag?
So our government has decided to revert to the tradition of lowering the Canadian flag to half-mast only once each year on November 11th in remembrance of our veterans. Reading the letters of outrage over at the CBC makes me wonder where everyone was prior to the Martin government's decision to break from the original tradition in the first place.
You see, we've had plenty of soldiers killed in overseas missions over the years. Is the life of Cpl Daniel Gunther any less valuable than that of Cpl Paul Davis?
Frequent readers (a whole curling team worth of you these days) will testify that I'm all for recognizing the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, especially those who make the ultimate sacrifice. But in this case, while I can see the argument for continuing with the relatively new policy of lowering the flag for each individual death, I'm in agreement with the current government's decision to reverse the policy.
Was the flag lowered on June 6th, 1944, when 340 Canadians lost their lives in the invasion of Normandy? Why not, do you think? For my part, I believe it was because Canadians at that time understood that focusing on the sacrifice instead of the just and noble mission that required it was inappropriate. I think they understood that the time for public remembrance would come, but that that time was not now as the battle raged.
Is our mission in Afghanistan any less noble, any less just?
We should remember the fallen, yes. We should honour them and cherish their memory. We can do that best by focusing on the reason for their sacrifice rather than just the fact of it, by telling their stories, by supporting their efforts and respecting their needs, and by lowering a flag on Remembrance Day.