posted on Nov, 12 2006 @ 11:37 PM
This weekend I went to Kettle Point, Ontario. I have a cottage there which I have been busy renovating every chance that I can get. Kettle Point is
a reserve belonging the Chippewas First Nations.
At the Reserve, there is a beautiful monument which is situated in a small parkade. The memorial commemorates the sacrifice of the First Nations
peoples in Canada's wars. There are four statues of natives, from Tecumseh to a Viet Nam era soldier; a reminder of the specific sacrifice made by
members of the First Nations not only for Canada but for the United States as well.
I was, frankly, surprised at first to see such a large group of people gather on what was a cold, blustery, rainy morning. I suppose I came to this
idea when I considered how the First Nations people have been treated and, often violated, in their long association of British, Canadian and American
governments. Very quickly, however, I learned that the First Nation peoples have been willing to join and participate in the military even though
they might not have always been treated very well. During WWII, for example, native peoples made up the largest visually identifiable minority in the
Canadian military. Yet, when these very same men who served in the Canadian military, they were met with racism, denied benefits and often denied the
basic rights that other non-natives received. Yet, First Nations peoples continued to enlist and serve in the military of Canada and the United
I could not understand how the First Nations people could continue to join the military of the very same governments that so-often violated treaties
and denied the basic civil rights of those who served. Then, as I stood in the rain among proud veterans and their families, I realized that the
First Nation peoples stood proud because they fought for the ideals and principles that motivate all people -- freedom, liberty and justice.
While the First Nations have not always been treated justly, the principles they fought for were deeply ingrained into their traditions and culture.
I was deeply moved to look into the faces and eyes of brave men who fought so that others might be free.
It made me realize that, for all of the misgivings that we might hold about our government, Canada and the United States are made up of people who
will courageously give of themselves to serve principles and ideals that are really bigger than any one man, one political party or government.
While we sometimes doubt the motives of our government, let us not doubt for one minute that, ultimately, the only motive that the men and women of
the military hold is for that of Peace, of Justice and of Freedom. These are ideals that we all hold dear.
All I can say is thank you. Thank you to men and women of the military for the sacrifice that you have given all of us in the pursuit of Peace of
Freedom and of Justice.