Friday, 1 July 2011

Memorial Day, Canada Day, and our Rights and Responsibilities.

I am so very lucky, so very honored, and so grateful, that I am a Newfoundlander, and a Canadian. I live in a place where I can walk the streets or dark paths at 2 a.m. and not fear a mugging. I can strike up a conversation with someone while waiting at the bus stop, and it isn't awkward. I have the right, as a Canadian, to free speech, health care, if I lose my job, there are provisions made to help me along until I can get back on my feet, if my country is threatened, there is a group of very dedicated and courageous men and women who will defend my right to lie in my bed at 1:37 in the afternoon.

Lots of rights were paid for by the blood of our ancestors, a whole lot of blood, thousands upon tens of thousands of lives worth of blood. Think about that for a moment while you read this, look at the numbers of lives that have been lost to date in protection of our rights and lives. Just in World War One, the total number of civilian and military casualties are numbered around 37.5 MILLION, 16.5 Million of those were deaths, while around 21 Million were wounded, and that's just in the first World War.

So on a day like today, we remember those brave souls who so long ago took up arms against a menace  so far away from home. We run ads, donate a few dollars out of our pockets, come November we buy poppies for a few cents, some of us will give a lot, but I don't think anyone gives enough. We just don't seem to care as much now, our shit's just more important.


Our Rights, my rights, his rights, her rights, right to freedom of the press, right to freedom of speech, right to a decent wage, right to a safe environment to raise our children. Everywhere I look, I see people screaming that they have rights to do this and that... I never hear about their responsibilities.

Yes, you have the right to say whatever you want. But you have the Responsibility to ensure you are not stopping others from exercising that right.

Yes, the press needs the right to freedom of information, but they have the Responsibility to ensure that they convey that information in an unbiased and transparent way, using only facts.

Yes, you have the right to a decent wage, but you have the Responsibility to do your job, the way you agreed to do it, when you were hired.

Yes, you have the right to a safe environment to raise your children, but you have the Responsibility to be an active participant in ensuring the safety of that environment.

These are just a few examples, but with every right, there comes a Responsibility, I hear everyone demanding their rights, but I only see a few living up to their Responsibilities. You know who you are.

Final note: The Military. Let me tell you a story. In South Korea, I was in an airport, in a little room with an open ceiling, it was the smoking room and I lit up like many of the Koreans around me. A man in a Korean military uniform came in and he searched himself for his pack of smokes. I could read on his face that he suddenly realized that he must have forgotten his pack somewhere else. He reached for the door, and before he could even touch the handle, EVERY other Korean in that little room, offered him their pack, bowing in respect. That is how our Military deserves to be treated. We may not agree with the reasons they fight, but that isn't their choice, they follow the orders of our leaders. If we do not agree with the military's actions, then it is OUR responsibility to take that up with our leaders, not with the people who's job is to take orders, and to pay the price of blood.

Our Military has a hard enough job, don't make it harder on them. Instead, help make sure, that our brave men and women, aren't sacrificed in vain.

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At 6 July 2011 at 10:48 , Blogger misa101 said...

I completely agree esp IRT how we treat our military. While it is ok IMO to disagree with a military action it is NEVER ok to disrespect those who serve.


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