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Pension tension.

IN VOLUME 20 Issue 8 (September 2013), the article on Homecoming said it was continued on page 63. But even though I looked on several pages back and then forward, it is not to be found. What happened? (Editor's note: Our apologies for the typo. Homecoming actually continued on page 53, not 63.)

In "The Old Guard" [in the same issue] there's a part where Robert Borden the (then) PM is quoted as saying, "Men who have served their country will be appreciated, taken care of." They can say whatever, but to do is seldom done. Bullshit.

My father was critically wounded 1917. The last of three times he was wounded was really bad. It was a ghastly head wound that left his right side semi-paralyzed. He was kept in a convalescent hospital for five years ... yes, I did say five years.

Eventually, he started going crazy at the long "imprisonment." His guardian was his father's brother and was very well-connected both socially, and militarily. A captain in the Royal Navy. I suspect he was kept for so long because he was not really expected to recover at all. However, he did, but it left him with a bad limp and a near useless right hand. He was never was capable of working.

He was awarded a really generous pension of 25 per cent. This, for a man who was seriously crippled! ... Wow, the extreme generosity of 25 per cent just blows the mind, eh? Then, for ultimate in cynicism, they called him in for a re-board in the early 60s. They waited until the last of his four kids had left the nest, then they bumped his pension up to 90 per cent, where it should have been all along!

When my parents married in 1924, he requested an additional pension for her. They said no. Then, as each of his four kids came along, he requested additional pension. No, no, no, and no. Yesiree, looking after veterans was supposed to happen, but, of course, it often did not. And a tip of the hat to Robert Borden for his caring! Were it not for an inheritance, a small one at that, I do not know what they could have done.

Pensions have improved dramatically from what they used to be. However, there will always be room for improvement. That class-action lawsuit by those guys from Afghanistan just has to succeed. A lump sum is ludicrous for men in the main who will have little, if any, success with that money. I suspect it'll all be gone in a short time.

All armoured corps men and those who were artillerymen will be seriously deaf, for me it was like that at age 40, or thereabouts. Between the pension for my lack of hearing as well, and an additional pension for PTSD, I am well cared for.

All too often, those people in government frequently try, and succeed too to slither out of doing the right thing. They slither out from under a rock ... where they belong. People like that are not likely to have much, if any, self-respect. If so, as day follows night, they'll have little, if any, respect for the well-being of others. Where they should be doing cutbacks is top tier civil servants. Surely, there are far too many of them. As well, a few years ago, a statistic came out of Ottawa that said there were more captains in the army than there were privates! There are an obscene number of general officers. Far more than needed. There is far more needless deadwood up there than what is really required.

Congratulations are definitely in order for Esprit's continued success. Those clowns in Ottawa tried to kill you because you called a spade a god-damned shovel. I don't know how many advertisers left you, no doubt it would have been a tough row to hoe. I always enjoy it. Especially the historical stuff.

Caption: Canadian stretcher-bearers move the wounded to the rear at the battle of Passchendaele in 1917. Over 150,000 Canadian soldiers were wounded in the Great War, with many of them requiring extensive medical care upon their return home. In the post-war years, few veterans received adequate compensation or pensions for their sacrifice, and their families paid the price. (C-2202, LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA)

Robert W. Stirling

Maple Ridge, BC
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Author:Stirling, Robert W.
Publication:Esprit de Corps
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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