Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More on honouring our vets

Some comments need special attention. In response to this posting, commentator Canadian Tar Heel make the following point:

While I appreciate the debate over the name "Highway of Heroes" as opposed to something like "Veterans Highway", I find this post overly caustic to make a cheap point. Remembering and valuing the work of our armed forces is hardly "trite", even if you feel that displays of such appreciation (eg, yellow ribbons) are "facile".
The vexed problem with this is that it makes any proposal to "honour" our soldieras prima facie valid, and makes any criticism on any basis (i.e. it's a stupid idea) tantamount to not "supporting" the troops. Ridiculous. This equates meaningful gestures (sending aid packages, letters, volunteering to help veterans or disabled soldiers) with ridiculous proposals (renaming entire cities or sections of freeway) and with emtpy gestures (yellow ribbons.)

Let's take this premise to its logical conclusion. I propose the following: The dollar be renamed "The Hero Token" (with its new abbreviation HT--i.e. "On sale for HT4.99!") and while we are at war, instead of "hello," the customary salutation between two individuals be "Honoured are our soldiers," to which the response must be "Let them be honoured."

And anyone who says this is foolishness--well, you just don't support the troops, do you? Why do you hate freedom?


Canadian Tar Heel said...

Wow, I’m feeling rather impressed with myself. A two-sentence comment sparked a response apparently worthy of an entire post in rebuttal. If we simply disagree, then I might leave well enough alone.

However, I do not understand why you seem to ‘put words in my mouth’ by reading-in your own “vexed problem”. I dislike the caustic and hyperbolic nature of the previous post. I do NOT suggest in ANY way that criticizing the name “Highway of Heroes” was “tantamount to not ‘supporting the troops”. In fact, I even indicate at the start, that I appreciate such criticism. Odd that.

Finally, I disagree with the issue about displays of appreciation to our troops. I do, indeed, believe that there is an inherent value in demonstrating one’s appreciation, although such value varies according to the act. I do not view the wearing of yellow ribbons (at the lower end of the spectrum) as necessarily “empty” simply because one does not see a material contribution. Symbols carry more weight than you give them credit. I think the problem, here, is that you’ve incorrectly assumed I view any and all displays of appreciation as being equal in value and in appropriateness.

Dean P said...

Well. You may not have said that it's "not supporting the troops," yet you dismissed my concern that such empty gestures are "trite," with the clear implication that any and all efforts to honour the troops--however foolish, misguided, and corny--are valid.

And if I came across as imputing to you the suggestion that you went one step further--i.e. not only are all such gestures important and meaningful (your point) but indeed all people who criticise them are traitors who don't support the troop--I apologize. However, as evidenced by many of the comments on this and other blogs (particularly on Red Tory) there are many, many people who do go that extra step.

After all, I do live in the United States, where anyone who criticizes the President or the War is immediately so branded.