Today is Remembrance Day. I have a Remembrance Day tradition as you may know, that I started a decade ago at the Sun News Network.
I read a poem by Rudyard Kipling, which isn’t so much about remembering soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, but rather about treating soldiers properly now, all the time. Of course, I also love In Flanders Fields, which is the reason we wear poppies on our lapels. Here is a powerful reading of that, by the late Leonard Cohen:
But the one I think about more is called Tommy, written by Rudyard Kipling in 1890 — before the horror of the Great War was even imaginable.
The left thinks Canada is a peacenik country. But that’s just their historical illiteracy. Canadians have paid a disproportionate price in the wars for western liberty. We joined both the First and Second World Wars years before our American cousins did, and in very high numbers.
And those wars, and the war in Korea, and the dozens of military missions over the decades — none of them were to defend our own soil. They were to defend our friends and allies, and the very idea of freedom and democracy.
It’s one of the reasons Canada is so well-loved around the world. It’s the reason why Parliament Hill is awash in colourful tulips every year — that’s a gift from the Netherlands, for helping liberate them. It’s important to the Dutch.
Not so important to Justin Trudeau, who had more important things to do in Cambodia. The things Trudeau cares the most about are the things he must remember as a child from what his father did as Prime Minister. Mocking Queen Elizabeth; hostility to Alberta oilmen; and of course demeaning and despising our soldiers.
Imagine saying that to a wounded veteran, to his face. If only he treated our veterans as well as he treated Omar Khadr, the terrorist murdered and war criminal. Trudeau always mocks our military. It’s just weird to see that anti-military activists sound so butch about the war in Ukraine now. He really treats soldiers as political pawns on a chessboard.
The whole thing reminds me of that poem by Kipling, called Tommy – Tommy Atkins being the British nickname for any soldier, like saying G.I. Joe.
Here’s the poem:
I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
GUEST: Marco Van Huigenbos, a Fort Macleod councillor and protester who was charged with mischief over $5,000 in connection to the Coutts border blockade
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