That blog brought forth, yet again for this site, the wonderful story about the creation and unveiling of the Victoria BC Afghanistan Memorial. A memorial reminding all that in the service of our country 158 service members and five civilians gave their lives for the cause.
Therein the blog gave brief details of the tragic death of one of the 158 in the military. 30 year old Lt Nuttall was killed while leading his platoon on patrol. He stepped on an improvised explosive device, just a few days before Christmas 2009.
I also briefly mentioned that 30 year old Michelle Lang, was one of the civilians who lost her life. This award winning journalist was a Calgary Herald reporter on a six week assignment in the War Against Terrorism. Her death on 30 December 2009 was just about a week after her last published story.
A story about the death of Lt Nuttall!
Reporter Lang was the first and only reporter from Canada who was killed while covering the war by sending home regular reports about the Afghanistan conflict. At least 27 reporters have so far lost their lives in sending home to their own countries, the daily tragedy of war.
It is ironic that the last and this blog appear during the first week of this year's Women's History Month. This year marks the 27th year since The Honorable Mary Clancy, Minister responsible for the Status of Women first announced back in 1992 that each year from then on would be celebrated in Canada as Women's History Month. (A similar month in the US is celebrated during March)
Her March press release announced that it was high time the women of Canada were properly recognized for their significant accomplishments throughout Canada's history.
She forgot of course to announce in the same document that the credit belonged not to the government, but three British Columbia women who garnered support from across Canada for over a year and petitioned that such a month be created.
Those three women as duly noted often in this space were Cathryne Armstrong, Lyne Gough and Cathy Blazkow. Cathryne being my late mother. She had by then spent well over 50 years volunteering in many organizations at the local, regional, provincial, national and international levels to acknowledge the contributions to society that women played, and identifying areas were more research and energy is needed to better support the women and girls of the day. She and so many others proclaimed, as they quite rightly still do, that much remains to be done in that regard.
The month of October was chosen for this celebration as it was in that month back in 1929 that Lord Sankey, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain issues his decision on the status of women. The Famous Five... Canada's Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Henrietta Muir Edwards, had fought a several year battle regarding women's status as PERSONS, a title that was needed for them to be qualified to sit in our Senate. The men of the day, using very old law, determined that the women were NOT PERSONS, and thus the Person's Case above noted was to be decided (favourably for women) in England.
Returning to the BC memorial, last week I told you of one of the five woman who lost their lives in Afghanistan.
Perhaps these five could become known as the Five Patriotic Women. Each having their name inscribed for eternity on the BC memorial.
One in ten Canadian Afghanistan veterans is a woman. Three hundred and ten of these women served in combat roles. One of these women was Captain Nichola Goddard who was serving with the PPCLI as a Forward Observation Officer on 17 May 2006.
While in a standing position and exposed to enemy fire from the waste up, her armoured vehicle was on a mission to capture 15 alleged Taliban. It was struck by 2 rocket propelled grenades killing her and a Afghan National Army soldier. But her troops went on to kill about 40 and capture an additional 20 of the enemy.
The rock and roll group ... the TREWS were so inspired by the Goddard story that they apparently wrote and released this song...
In 2006 I was in Ottawa with my sisters and their husbands to buried the ashes of both my mother and father, both WWll veterans, at our national cemetery at Beechwood.
I visited this room the day after Capt Goddard was killed in action. Someone cut out the news clipping and placed it above the grave marker in this room. It was most emotional to go up to the marker and read the article.
Ironically Captain Goddard, now resting also at Beechwood, perhaps now chats with my parents off and on. Hmmm!
On 13 April 2009, 21 year old Trooper Karine Blais was killed and four others wounded when their armoured vehicle, on patrol duties, was struck by a roadside bomb. Karine was the youngest of the four Canadian women and one civilian to have been killed in the war.
It was her first tour and she had only been in the country 2 weeks!
Just over a week later 30 year old Major Michelle Mendis, died. Probably suffering from PTSD due to the pressures of the war room conferences, she took her own life. She'd been in Kandahar only 4 days.
A global news Stat in Jan. of this year claimed that with over 155 active Canadian service member suicides since 2010, the staggering number almost surpasses the 158 who died fighting.
In June of 2010 , 34 yr. Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht a medic, and another of the same trade received notice that a suspected bomb was planted in a doorway along their route of patrol. En route to investigate, the two were killed when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device near Kandahar.
In the case of Captain Goddard, the cross was awarded not to a parent, but to her husband. The first such award in the history of the medal.
We now must reflect on these terrible losses of life, and the after effects faced by The Five Patriotic Women, their mates in the service, their families and loved ones, neighbours and friends and the rest of the country. The same also goes true for each and every one of the men who's names are also inscribed on this memorial.
And lets not forget these fellows as well...
I URGE ALL TO TAKE A TRIP DOWNTOWN TO THE CORNERS OF QUADRA AND COURTNEY STREETS, in Victoria BC, AND SEE THIS MEMORIAL AND TAKE YOUR KIDS ALONG.
Also visit the most informative Memorial website at...
See you again on 27 October with 2 important updates
cheers till then,