20
May
08

A day to honour the troops?

Hi, this is Will in Canada. ‘Here remembrance day is a day off work. I believe the same can be said for the USA with veterans day. But what do you think of this?

A special Bank Holiday (public holiday) is being considered by the British Government to honour and celebrate the work of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF, as part of a new drive to draw the military and the public closer together. To encourage members of the Armed Forces to wear their uniforms in public as often as possible, legislation is also to be introduced to make it a criminal offence to discriminate against military personnel in Service dress or combat fatigues.

Good idea or bad? Would you want this to be a part of your country? Do you want to get bloser to your troops?


21 Responses to “A day to honour the troops?”


  1. May 20, 2008 at 13:19

    Again from the Talking Points post, and I think is one of the most important aspects of this proposal:

    @ Will’s article:
    Anyone who physically attacks a serviceman or servicewoman in uniform will also be charged with an “aggravated offence”

    So am I to believe that it will be a worse offence than attacking someone not wearing a uniform? If so, I’m not a big fan of that…

  2. 2 Robert
    May 20, 2008 at 13:47

    I do think that it is very important to be able to celebrate the work of a countries militry. So I think that granting an annual bank holiday for this purpose would be deserved by the militry. This is because they do so much increadable work I think they desever it 100%.

    Thanks

    Rob

    UK

  3. 3 Virginia Davis
    May 20, 2008 at 15:39

    Here in the US we have Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I’d rather Congress get it together so that our volunteers come home to full scholarships/another GI Bill.

    Virginia/Portland, OR

  4. 4 Shirley
    May 20, 2008 at 15:57

    from my post to the 20 May talking Points thread
    I’m not fond of the mixing of civilian and military. Military-inspired fashion, for example, turns me off. War games for PC and various TV-incorporated systems really turn me off. The way that certain restaurants are frequented by both military personnel and civilians in Israel, and the way that their mass transport systems are used by both, bothers me. I am certain that there are plenty of military personnel who live off-base, and as long as they are active enough that they could be called on at an moment to serve somewhere, I might be able to live with them wearing military uniforms. However, it seems to me that what is being described in the article is an attempt at glorification of military life, which to me is the same as glorification of war. And it is the glorification of war that really disgusts me. To me, war is a necessary evil: it exists as the last resort, something hated and despicable that we only use if we absolutely must. I feel that war has become a glorified concept in recent years, something to celebrate and to use in order to demonstrate our military, economic, and political power and to cow the rest of the world into acquiescing to our will.

    and also
    Perhaps the attitude that I have preceived as a glorification of war is directly linked to the attitude that one does not communicate with one’s declared enemies? I think that refusing to talk or negotiate with certain groups is immature. Isn’t it possible that repeated contact with those whom we view as contenders could result in some form of agreement between us and them?

  5. 5 Will Rhodes
    May 20, 2008 at 16:04

    As I said on the other thread this is important to me because of my father.
    He served in the British army through WWII, Korea, Suez crisis and did many UN peace keeping services.

    He was awarded several medal for both service and bravery including the BEM (British Empire Medal).

    What brought this to mind?

    Well, as you know I am living in Canada and they celebrate those who join the services. I am and was horrified that British service personnel were attacked for wearing their uniform.

    As these men and women are volunteers we should support them – it is the government that sends them into danger even though they willingly go. They do not have the same rights as you and I, and as that is the case we should celebrate what they do do for us. This is whether we agree with the actions or not.

    As I say, it is our governments that send the troops out and we should be critical of them rather than the men and women who fight.

  6. 6 Shirley
    May 20, 2008 at 16:56

    Will,
    Thank you for raising the points that you are raising. I agree with you on your point that servicemen are volunteers whose governments order them to do various tasks. I also hear you on honouring them and on respecting them. I am still trying to balance my objection to the glorification of war with the honouring of servicemen. It is very difficult for me. I have had various experiences with this balancing act. One time, I was travelling about the country and encountered some troops who were flying out to Iraq that same day. My first reaction was fear. I had no idea how they would react to me as an obvious Muslim. I was still dealing with that initial sense of panic when my gut feeling kicked me. It kept kicking me until I gave in and chased down one of them, a rather small lady. I introduced myself, asked about their deployment, and clasped her hand to wich her godspeed. At that moment, I felt that I was going to cry. I actually had to dash around the corner to clear my face. I can’t be absolutely certain, but I think that I later saw her face in one of those lists that the media makes of fallen soldiers. The whole experece really shook me. To this day, I am so surprised that I would have such a heart-to-heart experience with someone whose mission I vehemently oppose. It also bothers me tremendously that the very person whom I greeted was very likely walking into death. It’s not her that bothers me, but the fact that I felt the need to reach out to her, and then she was gone.

    Gut Feeling for Sale: accepting best offer 🙂

  7. 7 Will Rhodes
    May 20, 2008 at 18:27

    For anyone who knows, the last thing a soldier wants to do is kill, even though they are trained to do exactly that.

    What people should also know is part of that training is to overcome the basic instinct that killing is wrong – so soldiers, sailors and airmen are trained to think of the enemy as noting more than a combatant willing to kill them. Objectifying those who are your enemy in a way.

    Once that threat is muted then a soldier will change to be a compassionate person once more – and as has been seen will help an enemy with his own blood if required to keep that enemy alive.

    On a slightly different tack, but I feel relevant – on my blog we had a debate about guns nullifying guns in college – those who argued for the 2nd amendment would not understand that civilians with guns is much different than a trained soldier – yet they still felt that some should carry concealed weapons to class.

    A soldier id trained to fight on a battlefield and to aim straight! A student, in a throng of many would kill their fellow students.

    Even though you are Muslim you are seen as a civilian by those in the forces – and they will have appreciated what you did.

    More of us should do the same. Here in Canada we have red shirts with “support our Troops” stitched onto them, many many people wear them with pride.

  8. 8 Jeremy
    May 20, 2008 at 18:48

    Hey, What a load of hot air. The reality with Canada’s Rememberance day is that only the upper class and civil servants get the time off work for this holiday. The other reality is that the majority of people who have the time in Canada to dress up on friday’s or put stickers on there cars are the same people who could afford to donate a day of wages to support funds.

    The cold reality is that the troops (in Canada) are being charged with gang beatings in major cities both Toronto and Montreal of innocent civilians, as well as having a high level of use of illegal drugs particularly cocaine.

    Take a walk in the capital city someday and see the troops walking into office buildings and then take a look at the tiny group who actually deploy. You will see how much easier it would be to write letter’s to the individuals in harms way as oppose to glorifying an entire proffesion.

    If honouring proffesion’s is your goal, you could always work for the CMA and help them get more money while they refuse to accept more doctors into their programs, depleting our health care system.

  9. 9 John LaGrua/New York
    May 20, 2008 at 18:58

    The best way for a nation to honor its troops is to not squander them like so many sheep in illegal and immoral wars .the US /Uk politicians have creaed human misery on a grand scale and blighted the lives of the young men and women who are sent to war motivated by deceit and fraud. The trauma suffered effects them for a lifetime. Veterans of WW II carried scares and bitter memories but had the comfort of a =n honest cause,In the case of Iraq tin medals and parades are cold comfort to those who have been so cynically used.Bush and Blair et al should be tried by an International War Crimes Tribunal and punished as were the Nazi leaders at Nurenburg to set an example for future politicians that military adventurism is high risk and very bad for their health.

  10. 10 Dennis/U.S.
    May 20, 2008 at 19:31

    I support my dear friend, Will, idea and his theory…about a day to honour the
    troops….

    Dennis~U.S.A.

  11. 11 Shirley
    May 20, 2008 at 20:43

    Will,
    Do you sense empty ceremonialism when the same people who set aside a day of honour for the troops also deny increases in health care coverage, education, and other services for the troops?

  12. 12 Will Rhodes
    May 20, 2008 at 21:35

    No.

    What I do see is the NHS increasing spending and they also have received billions in extra funding over the years – much more than the forces.

    Do the British government give up the Trooping of the Colour because that is empty ceremonialism?

    Education isn’t underfunded – it is how it is administrated. That is the problem you have there.

  13. 13 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 21, 2008 at 00:08

    Troops are declared abuse to humanity this kind of celibration will encouage unhuman belives & pose a negative aspect of prevailing society.
    I hope we are not mixing aid agencies & voluntiers in troops community, in general word troop understand as army.

  14. 14 Shirley
    May 21, 2008 at 00:28

    Hello, Will
    I get the sense that funding for veteran services differs between Canada and the U.S. Here in the States, patriotism feels more empty. It’s all flag waving and budget slashing, turning blind eyes to the mental health of troops returning from Iraq and ignoring their exposure to radiation. Another thing that is bothersome is that so many of the flag wavers are jingoistic to the point of prejudice. For some reason, though, I fare better in small rural towns than in big cities with the patriotic types.

  15. 15 Jonathan Rasmussen
    May 21, 2008 at 02:47

    As an American, I won’t pretend to know the specifics in Canada or Britain, but I’ll cheerfully offer advice. To a political nose recently sensitized by bitter experience in my own country, these proposals reek of cheap political posturing, with a whiff of authoritarianism: “Eau de Weimar.”

    The Britain I know has no shortage of respect for its military history and tradition. If civilians now routinely assault and insult soldiers, there’s a problem that won’t be solved by a law demanding deference to the military. Such a law is toxic to a democratic society. A holiday dedicated to military chest-thumping and rah-rah seems another dubious solution in search of a problem.

    I question the wiisdom of “Bringing the military and the public closer together.” A free society should respect its professional military, but the society and its government is the dog, and the armed forces the tail. Confusing those roles leads to serious mistakes, for instance the current cynical, circular argument that a futile war must be continued so that soldiers will not have “died in vain.”

    Interestingly, in recent history the military has often been “dovish” and the political leadership “hawkish,” at least on this side of the pond.

  16. May 21, 2008 at 05:28

    Only the country that defeated the evil NAZI empire perhap should become proud of themselves. The ww2 committed by NAZI destroyed most part of world and made some governments committed crime against humanity. All the wars are carring since after ww2 is crimes against humanity. Some of monsters children are born as results of Deplated Uranium and many people will dies from these chemical substances diseases. All those who celebrates this acts of evils are criminal and wicked.

  17. 17 Will Rhodes
    May 21, 2008 at 18:56

    Can I make myself quite clear?

    I don’t agree with a specific law that details one cannot attack a member of the armed forces, there are assault laws that can cover this already.

    I do feel that we should put aside a day where we can remember and honour those who are in the forces now and in the past. Should Britain mark that with a bank holiday on remembrance day? I think it would be a good idea.

    Please take into account, in England the Patron Saints Day is largely ignored by the British government.

  18. 18 Jeremy
    May 21, 2008 at 23:01

    Dearest Will,

    You seem to have ignored the facts about OUR troops that I mentioned earlier. They aren’t all saints and a couple deserve to be punished. Those that are good people should allow karma to take care of them and make them feel good.

    An excellent example in Canada is the lack of equipment, and the mis information about equipment. I know multiple current and ex soldiers who have more stories than you have cells.

    Again, instead of imposing your holiday’s why not donate a day’s salary, or write a letter to someone who is deployed.
    And remember in Canada nobody is forced to deploy to combat, and all those that do are given extra pay.

    I hope your willing to promote everything else to make the troops lives better, as the BBC regularly engages with. Like pro choice, gay rights, drug liberalization, etc…

  19. 19 Shirley
    May 22, 2008 at 00:05

    Will,
    Those same laws also protect people from murder and attack, but enough people saw good reason to make laws against hate crimes. Are attacks against troops that much different from hate crimes?

    I don’t begrudge the armed services their day(s) on the calendar. I just wish that patriotism would be defined less by empty flag waving and jingoistic xenophobia and more by true concern for the direction that one’s country is taking to better the lives of the common people in that country; and I wish that the same politicians who are so dedicated to making new days for troops were equally as dedicated to spending on services for them when they return from services.

  20. 20 Shirley
    May 22, 2008 at 00:07

    btw, what is Patron Saint’s Day?

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