Canada’s Vietnam Legacy

May 27, 2008

Canadian Vietnam Veteran

Of the more than 58,000 names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., 103 of them are of “known” Canadians who served with United States forces. Although America has honored those fallen Canadians who did not return from the Vietnam war, their own native country never officially did so. The approximately 40,000 Canadian youths who volunteered to fight for freedom for others and against tyranny during the Vietnam era have never been acknowledged by Canada. Those who gave their lives in service to others have no official war memorial from Canada.

Because of this, a small group of Americans in Michigan designed, built, and donated the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Canadian soil, in Windsor, Ontario. It was a long, hard fought struggle that began in 1986, after Vietnam veterans Ric Gidner and Ed Johnson first discovered the untold story of the Canadian Vietnam veterans. They joined with American veteran Chris Reynolds and eventually covenanted with themselves and the unsung Canadian Vietnam veterans: “As Long As We Live, You Will Live. As Long As We Live, You Will Be Remembered. As Long As We Live, You Will Be Loved“.

The three American veterans persevered and began planning fruition of the memorial, paying all expenses by mortgaging their homes, cashing their retirement funds and maxing out their credit cards. However, they never overcame the resistance of the government of Canada and were never permitted to build the Canadian veterans’ memorial under auspices of the Canadian government. It was the town of Windsor in Ontario that welcomed the memory of the fallen Canadian Vietnam soldiers, giving the memorial a home place on Canadian soil in 1994.

Unbelievably, in 1998, vandals struck the veterans’ memorial, severely damaging it, while leaving intact all other artwork in the Windsor park. It took one year and many thousands of dollars to restore the memorial and make security modifications to prevent further malicious destruction. (NOTE: By 2008, vandalism of war memorials has become commonplace, even in the U.S. – See video of New Haven, Connecticut.)

Recently, I was saddened to read of more disquieting news relating to the memorial and the Canadian Vietnam veterans. An Internet essay entitled “With Equal Pride of Place,” tells of irreconcilable breaches between two Canadian Vietnam veterans organizations. It is quite sad that the bitterness and resentments that Canadians harbored against their fellow countrymen who helped the U.S. fight Communism so long ago, seems to have now infected the Vietnam veterans groups themselves. From what I am able to understand from the aforementioned writings, “The North Wall, Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial” has vehemently denied any association or affiliation with “The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial Association, Windsor, ON,” accusing the latter group of not abiding by the original mandate of the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

According to the “With Equal Pride of Place” essay, many Canadian Vietnam veterans are complaining that the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial, created with such great sacrifice by the three Americans, “ … has turned into something that is much less honourable:” an “ego trip” for many of the Vietnam Veterans and their associates in Windsor, Ontario. The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial Association of Windsor, which apparently has sole responsibly for The North Wall, has been accused of “a misrepresentation of lineage, Orders of Battle, and the service of all,” including “Canadian Peacekeepers who fell In Harm’s Way during the years 1962-1973,” … whatever all that means.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ~~John 15:13

It surely means sadness for all of the aging Vietnam Veterans who live in Canada. I hope that this ugliness is not true, but knowing how difficult it has been for Canada and Canadians to face their Vietnam legacy, I suspect that it is. How fortunate that so many of Canada’s veterans of the Vietnam War never returned to their native land, choosing to live out their lives in the United States, where exists for all of us – The Wall, – lovingly and respectfully maintained by the government of the United States of America.

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” –Isaiah 6:8

(The image close-up from an original copyright by George Mock, gmockrcpilot.)

Canada the Vietnam War

Canada’s North Wall


Ann Coulter Was Right!

July 17, 2006

Dumped, Dropped, Canned

With her book at #2 on Amazon, it probably does not much matter to Ann Coulter that she is now being fired by national publications for her latest screeds. Harridan to Liberals, heroine to Right-wingers, she is not Kerfuffles’ choice for a representative of Conservatism, although conservative she is indeed. Like her or love her, she is entertaining when she displays the distinctive public persona she has so meticulously crafted. Whisking away her long blond hair from her always sleeveless shoulders, she drives Liberals wild, especially those of the female variety. Since the publication of her latest screed, “Godless”, she has taken to wearing a Christian cross to appropriately accentuate her plunging neckline, or is it vice-versa?

However, even Kerfuffles has defended Ann Coulter when “Ann Coulter Was Right!” (from my former blog, “Blatherings”, of Monday, February 07, 2005).

Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Bob McKeown was hosting a TV broadcast “The Fifth Estate,” on January 26th, which devoted one hour to show Canadians how the American media have been high jacked by conservative bullies. Strident conservative pundit and personality, Ann Coulter, was interviewed during which the following exchange occurred:

Coulter: “Canada used to be one of our most loyal friends and vice-versa. I mean Canada sent troops to Vietnam – was Vietnam less containable and more of a threat than Saddam Hussein?”

McKeown interrupts: “Canada didn’t send troops to Vietnam.”

Coulter: “I don’t think that’s right.”

Since that interview, Coulter has been unmercilessly attacked for saying that Canada sent troops to Vietnam. She has been called an epithet-throwing fictionalist, liar, loudmouth ignoramus, outrageous nationalist and described as empty-headed and shameful, and this in just one editorial, by Doug Ireland at Driland! By doing a short Google search, I discovered that Ann Coulter was correct. There is nothing like the truth to send the liberals into the out of control spin zone.

In 1973, the International Commission of Control and Supervision Vietnam (ICCS) was responsible for securing the armistice that lasted two years from 1973 to 1975, known as Operation Gallant. Canada, a member of the commission, contributed 240 Canadian Forces whose role was to monitor the cease-fire in South Vietnam, according to the Paris Peace Conference, and to arrange the release and exchange of more than 32,000 prisoners of war. In addition, ten to forty thousand Canadians, voluntarily served in Vietnam or during the Vietnam era with the American military, of whom 111 Canadians, were lost. One Canadian soldier, Toronto born Peter C. Lemon, won the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Canadian government believed that because of its membership in ICCS, that Canada had to remain impartial during the Vietnam Conflict. While Canada as a nation was not involved in the fighting, Canadians themselves formed the largest foreign contingent in the U.S. military during the Vietnam era. Although exact numbers are not obtainable, some estimate that between 30,000 and 40,000 served and that 12,000 Canadians actually were in American uniforms in the war zone.

Because it is almost a state secret, most Canadians do not even know that their own Canadian Armed Forces won a Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in Vietnam.

When the Canadian Vietnam veterans returned to their homeland, they were even more unwelcome than here in the United States, where at least returning veterans had access to government resources. Today, there is a memorial, “The North Wall”, at Assumption Park, Windsor, Ontario, overlooking the Detroit River. It honors the 103 Canadians who lost their lives in Vietnam and the seven who went missing in action. It is a fine tribute to those Canadians who served and sacrificed all for their belief in freedom.

Canada’s Good $en$e

Canadian Vets