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Month: November 2011


From the Archives: Fantastic Journalism

I have to admit, I didn't see this article when it was first published a couple of years ago. It's an article by David Samuels from Harper's Magazine and it is a wry, irreverent and totally enjoyable piece of writing. What Samuels did was not easy -- he went to a press conference in Washington and spun off from that a story that manages to more or less encompass the whole Afghan war (from a uniquely American perspective, albeit). Barack and Hamid's Excellent Adventure: Afghanistan's President Visits the White House is not to be missed. Here's a representative snippet.  How did we get suckered so badly? This time it is the liberal elites who have lost themselves in the ragged provinces where delusions of omnipotence collide with the cold realities of a war we are bound to lose. The Afghan...

Courcelette remembered

Alberta MP Brian Jean recently shared memories with his hometown paper in Fort McMurray about a Veterans Affairs Canada commemorative tour last summer, where he was particularly touched by a gesture at a service in Courcelette, France.Delegates and guests from surrounding communities participated in remembrance ceremonies for Canadian soldiers at the Courcelette Memorial and for French soldiers at the nearby Monument aux Morts.  The Battle of Flers-Courcelette--in September of 1916--was so fierce that the Van Doos commanding officer, Lt.-Col Thomas Tremblay, was moved to say, “If hell is as bad as what I’ve seen at Courcelette, I would not want my worst enemy to go there.”  More than 300 Van Doos were killed or wounded. After more than 90 years, the French have not forgotten, and hold an ...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Wednesday, March 1, 1944

Dear Mum, Dad, Sis and Jack the Commando: …Things have been quite busy these last two days. Yesterday, there was an inspection by our new Brigadier as well as a rehearsal for the show today. The new Brig. seems to be a good sort of fellow and isn’t a no-good like the one that left. There wasn’t a man in the whole brigade who liked him and it isn’t much wonder. This fellow we have now, Brigadier Lett, was the one who led the Essex Scots into Dieppe. He was very seriously wounded but got better and has just arrived back from Canada. This morning we were inspected by the big “hero”, General Montgomery himself. Yes, I saw the old boy in person. I never saw so many big shots in one place before, there was Monty, Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes…four brigadiers, five colonels and more majors...

Funding sought for veterans health research

One clear message coming out of the news reports from the Canadian Military and Veterans Health Research Forum  held in Kingston, Ont., after Remembrance Day is the need for more  research. Alice Aiken  director of the new Canadian Institute for  Military and Veteran Health Research told the media there is a lack of understanding about the unique health challenges of military and veterans. Retired General Roméo Dallaire was reported as saying such research will save lives. He told the 425 forum delegates about the need for appropriate long-term mental health care for veterans and families, with particular attention needed for post traumatic stress disorder. He said 17 years after his service in Rwanda something as simple as hearing a grandchild cry can trigger a flashback. A CF study rele...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Friday, Feb. 25, 1944

Dear Mum, Dad, Sis and Jack the Commando: Well we certainly have been having some fun all this week and they were all in the shape of air raids. So far we have had six raids in five nights and Jerry was over yesterday morning but he wasn’t long taking for home when a couple of Spits went after them. They usually come over between 11 and two and stay a half hour or more sometimes much more.  No doubt you have seen in the papers about the raids. Well, they were not small ones. You see we are right between London and the coast and there sure is a lot of banging around us.  Last night they brought down nine and we counted four of them. Boy it really gives a fellow a thrill when you see one getting hit and coming down in flames. You wouldn’t believe so many shells could be put up in the sky a...

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