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Old 09-21-2006, 11:31 PM   #1
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It's Time to Back Our Troops


Thursday September 21, 2006

It's time to back our troops

The Taliban will be watching.

And, of course, the NDP.

It will be interesting to see what they will see.

Will they see thousands of proud Canadians wearing red flocking to Parliament Hill to send a loud message of support to our troops over in Afghanistan?

Or will they see weakness and hesitation -- thus gaining more confidence in their belief "we" can't win a war against the bloodthirsty Taliban and we should surrender? Will this present an opportunity to undermine the mission and allow Canada's left to have their own "bring home the troops rally?"

It might be clearer tomorrow.

At noon, at Parliament Hill, a non-political (yeah, sure) support-the-troops rally will commence. If you can't be there, you can take part by wearing red yourself.

"We are about to find out what Canadians are really made of," Corus Radio national talk show host Charles Adler said yesterday. "Many of us worry that the new Canada is about being spectators in world events, rather than participants. We can talk about Canadian values until the cows come home. But unless we are prepared to fight for them and defend them and stand with great warriors now overseas, this is not the Canada I grew to love."

You will have your chance to do just that tomorrow -- a rally that came about thanks to CFRA in Ottawa. "It's the result of a phone call from the wife of a soldier fighting over there," said veteran news director Steve Winogron.

Turns out the woman's husband had been injured in the attack in which four men were killed last month. He called her from a stretcher and was back to support his mates within a week. "Then he was injured in action again," Steve said. "He drove over a mine."

The soldier is trying to get healthy enough to rejoin his fellow heroes in battle in three weeks. These guys are something. I have seen their dedication in the field before in places like Kosovo and in the Persian Gulf. Images of seeing a Canadian bagpiper playing at the stern of HMCS Iroquois at sunset, those five black hearses lined up at CFB Trenton waiting for our soldiers to come home and the Maple Leaf-draped caskets coming off the plane are the kinds of images that will stay with me forever.

There is no hesitation in my pride and all-out backing of them. Then there's people like Jack Layton saying they shouldn't be there. I don't get it because they are there.

They must wonder sometimes if we are there with them and worry how the protests fuel their enemy -- putting them at even more risk. With that in mind, CFRA is trying to hold a non-partisan effort to let them know somebody cares back here.

The defence minister will speak, some veterans, some soldiers' wives and maybe even Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Everybody will be wearing red. It could be another memorable image. I think Adler's concern, and I know it is also mine, is somehow an NDP rally could be bigger and better covered in the media than this one. The NDP know how to throw a protest and the leftist media know how to cover one.

The troops certainly don't need that. The left's voices are loud, but not everybody thinks like them. I was at a concert near Kingston Saturday where blind country singer Tim Amick had everybody in tears. He dedicated the Billy Ray Cyrus song Some Gave All to those who have died.

"All gave some, but some gave all, some stood through for the red, white and true but some had to fall. If you ever think of me, think of all your liberties and recall. Some gave all."

I was standing there looking at this 46-year-old blind singer wearing a red Roots Canada shirt and thinking "wow" he gets it. And he's from South Carolina.

He ended up in Enterprise, Ont., when he met a Canadian woman named Kim Kirkwood. "I love Canada," he said. "I am working on my Canadian citizenship."

Tim also got me with "Love your country, live with pride, don't forget those who died, Canada can't you see?"

We will see what Canada, the NDP and the Taliban see at Parliament Hill tomorrow. Hopefully it will be a sea of red. Either way, it's important the soldiers know we are with them and their friends who gave all. No matter what the Taliban or the NDP think.
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