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THE BARE LEFT CHEST.

REMEMBRANCE DAY IS past for another year. As usual, at the National War Memorial and hundreds of other locations, veterans and their supporters gathered to remember fallen comrades. Many proudly wore medals--those who served in WWII and Korea, and a 'new breed' of younger veterans of Bosnia, Afghanistan and other troubled areas. But there were also many among them who had served with distinction, and sometimes faced dangers, who had nothing to show for their service. They had committed themselves to serve where they were sent, but by chance or because of their skillset, were not called upon to go overseas. Nevertheless THEY ARE VETERANS, and deserve to be recognized as such.

Many non-veterans are now showing up with impressive medal displays. Discounting Royal Canadian Legion and other organizational "right chest" medals (I've already expressed my views on those!), there are the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers (which is justly earned by the wearers) and five Jubilee and commemorative medals that are awarded on recommendations from (usually) various organizations. Some of these may be well deserved, but the reasons fall far short of a commitment to serve Canada and face danger and discomfort at any time.

It is time that our military service volunteers were recognized. I am not suggesting that we emulate some nations, and hand out decorations freely. However, it seems reasonable that, when he or she leaves the Forces, a veteran should have something to show for the service. At present, unless he or she has served for 12 years of good conduct, which qualifies for the Canadian Forces Decoration, there is nothing. The institution of a Military Volunteer Service Medal would be a great way to end our 150th anniversary year.

If you share my concerns, write to your local MP, your local paper, the ministers of Veterans Affairs and Defence, or the Government House Honours Chancellery. Now is a good time--elections come up next year and veterans have votes!

Les Peate is a Korean War veteran and author based in Ottawa. If you have news you'd like included, write to les@espritdecorps.ca

Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.

Caption: Editor Les Peate argues that when a member leaves the CAF they should have something--like the Military Volunteer Service Medal--to show for their service. (CPL MANUELA BERGER, 4 WING IMAGING)

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Title Annotation:THE OLD GUARD
Author:Peate, Les
Publication:Esprit de Corps
Date:Dec 1, 2017
Words:389
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