Veterans deserve our thanks

Capital News columnist Dr. Markus Thiel share his thoughts about how we should all treat and respect our veterans.

Markus Thiel.

Today, November 11, marks a day of remembrance for us all.

I feel it is a momentous day, one which is deeply forgotten by most of us.

This is for no other reason than we have not known war in this generation. Today most of us enjoy a great deal of liberties, which were given freely to us by our own predecessors.

Imagine if today you were asked to leave your families, your careers and your wives or husbands, and fight a war in a far away land. Now imagine the thousands who volunteered to do this very thing.

Today, children are consumed with their smart phones and twitter, not aware of their heritage.

In years gone by, many children were consumed with the thought of “Is Dad going to be coming home?”

Remembrance is not a lot to ask is it? To wear a poppy, in recognition, is not too much to ask, is it?

I was appalled when I heard that Air Canada told their staff they were not allowed to wear poppies on their uniform because it was not “official uniform” attire. One decision they quickly retracted.

In 1939, Sept. 1, Germany invaded Poland and 1.1 million Canadians went to war. Here is the thing; we had no “draft”.

These brave men and women left all they knew, voluntarily, all that was tantamount to them, knowing full well they may not return. No other country had our record for voluntary investment. None.

Some 44,000 soldiers died in that war with 54,000 wounded.

That was just the Second World War. Historically, our history as soldiers is illustrious. It is so Canadian of us that other countries note this more so than we do.

This is the point of my message; we are who we are, able to be who we are, because of those who fell before us.

My father taught me that the ones we hold the highest regard for is that of our veterans. Period.

He told me “Marky, you can not even begin to pay them back for what they have done for us.”

To this day, I never charge a veteran for their care. Never will. Ever. That seems right to me. It is my honour to do so.

I recently had a patient in my clinic. He was a veteran. He was a wonderful man. He passed away two month ago. He was a patient of mine for 16 years.

He was remarkable because he found gratitude in everything. I mean everything. I asked him why he is so positive and kind all the time and…always living in happiness.

He asked me: “Do you want to know my secret? Well, there was a time in my life when I was in a place where others were trained and paid to shoot at me all day. Sometimes they got me. But I’m still here. So today is a good day because no one is shooting at me”.

Yes, we can go on all day long about how war is bad, wrong, but what needs to be recognized, first and foremost, is that our richest heritage and ensuing legacy as Canadians is that of our veterans.

They are a living testament to our fortitude as individuals, as a nation.

The term hero doesn’t even begin to describe what they did for us as a nation, as a future. Wear your Poppy proudly.

Dr. Markus Thiel is a Doctor of Chiropractic. Questions and comments may be sent to askdrthiel@shaw.ca