That blog shared my thoughts of appreciation to so many who have helped to put yet another piece of the ever expanding jig saw puzzle together. Many of those pieces came from thousands of communications from Americans willing to share with the this blog in the last 4 years, and me for over a decade before it was created.
Thus, with the strong support from south of the border, I am grieved by actions by your border agents and several crossing points in the days before the inaugeration, and the Womens March.
The press had been rather clear about the border agents and their union's strong support for the Trump team. Such support became very obvious when several crossing point agents refused entry to many Canadians who answered their unlawful pre-qualifier questions regarding if the visitor was a Trump supporter. Many Canadians gained entry but many did not. Some were delayed for hours. Some had cars searched, phones examined, fingerprints and photos taken, and then given the boot. Some with the warning that another crossing attempt in the days to come, (one report says several months,) the citizen would be arrested on the spot.
To block entry because you want to participate in a lawful and peaceful march, as admitted by the very agents, says little about the freedom of thoughts, the press and basic liberties. All stuff the Americans have fought wars over.
Had every American that voted against Trump been out of the country on inaugeration day, the population of the US would have been instantly halfed! One would hope that Making America Greater again, surely means making ALL of America, not just the less than half that voted for the party of record.
The border agents might want to reflect on the deep military history the Canadians, or British North Americans, of past, share with them. It was not that long ago that eastern Canada played a major role in allowing some 38 International flights heading into US Airspace, or already there, diverting to Canada's friendly shores.. Close to 7,000 passengers were instantly cared for as where a 17 dogs and cats... Oh... and one pair of great apes during the terrible days of 9/11.
Atlantic Canada surely felt America's pain when 248 US troops were on their return from peace-keeping missions to be with family and crashed into Newfoundland. And it was the Canadians that raced to the scene to give their all to assist with the terrible burden felt that day by the US military and the entire of North America.
It was 134 years ago that President Cleveland took that same route down past Pensylvannia Avenue enroute to the White House. The Grand Marshall of that parade was a fellow named Martin T McMahon. A US Major General, lawyer, politician, Judge, Minister of State to Paraguay and a man recently honoured with a memorial stamp by that country. A man who was a Civil War hero and Medal of Honor recipient and one of the leaders uniting to create an organization that morphed into what we now call the Medal Of Honor Society of the United States. And a man who first came into this world on CANADIAN soil.
As this week's inaugeration procession moved off to the White House, it passed the Canadian Embassy with its zillions of great flags blowing in the wind (I hope.) Few Americans of today... and Canadians... realize that the very land the embassy stands on was a gift from the US to Canada, thanks to the efforts of former Ambassador Ken Taylor and several others who whisked away the hostages that the Iranians were desperate to capture. Again Canadians risking their lives to save American lives!
You will remember the story. The one that got Hollywoodized to show that most of the key characters were American. It was called Argo and even the US President of the day expressed anger with the film's depiction of minimal involvement by the Canadian true heroes. Same with the Ken Burns series of the Civil War. Some 50,000 British North Americans, (read Canada mostly) fought, most for the North. They served in the infantry, and the artillery and cavalry and the sharpshooters and the engineers and the navy and fought in every major battle and thousands lesser battles and skirmishes over the five year period.
But they got little if any mention in that series or movies like the Gods and the Generals, and Glory (were some 38 Canadian men of colour fought with the 54th Massachusetts and many lay in the mass graves to this day that the Confederates threw them into. Other movies like Monuments Men in later wars and many others like the Great Escape are also made by Hollywood actors for the American audience and give scant credit to the players of the day, many from Canada. Men... and WOMEN in some cases, who fought with Americans on American soil, with thousands to this day still wear their American uniforms in grave yards across the US. Over 50 earned the Medal of Honor. Eight wore the uniform of a General. Several of the medaled men got the only MOH in the unit of which they served.
Before the inaugeration President elect Trump and his new Vice President went to Arlington to lay a wreath at the foot of the Tomb to many unknown soldiers. Doubtful they,nor many reading this column known that when that very first Tomb was first unveiled, the Canadian Prime Minister and other officials from Canada, including two Victoria Cross recipients attended and participated. One being the oldest living VC recipient in the world at the time. Today within minutes walk can be found some of over 2 dozen Canadian heroes buried at Arlington. About half being MOH recipients.
The Canadian Prime Minister and other officials were also at Arlington in 1925 to dedicate the massive 24 ft high granite Cross of Sacrifice. It is dedicated to the Americans who fought with the Canadians during the Great War and were killed. Since then those with the Canadians who also died in WWll and Korea have since also been honoured on the cross.
Not far away is the plaque recently presented by Royalty in honour of 4 American Victoria Cross recipients from the Great War. Sadly, the plaque fails to mention that every one of them, whilst American, actually fought in Canadian regiments.
It is somewhat ironic that the day chosen to lay the Arlington wreath was 19 January. About 100 miles away, in the State of Virginia, exactly 210 years ago... to the day... a fellow was born who ended up owning the large estate that Arlington is now built upon. And that child's name was Robert E Lee.
A Montreal man, and CW General was one of the very founders of the National Union Party, which has morphed into the Republican Party. He also was one of the men who nominated Abe Lincoln for office, and was summoned to his bedside as he lay dying. Land he donated for the training of Union troops would see at least two trainees later wearing the Medal of Honor. One of these..from Canada, would later be called upon to help build the luxurious railway car for Lincolns travels. But it was too fancy and never so used. When he was assassinated men were called to tear out the refinements and turn it into a funeral car. The same Canadian MOH man would again lend a hand with that task. And another Canadian would lead the team that caught John Wilkes Booth.
One of only eight generals selected to be on that train's guard of honour lay to this day buried in New Brunswick, and another CW general died in Ontario. He was a man of Irish decent, and the very first Medal of Honor recipient by date of action.
Thus showing yet again the major connection that foreign born recipients play in the overall story of the US Medal of Honor.
All of this and much more ought to be taken into consideration when America's friends from the North next visit a border crossing.
cheers till next week,