Sunday, April 19, 2009

Repatriation of Trooper Blais causes controversy

Trooper Karine Blais, the second Canadian female soldier to be killed in Afghanistan, came home amid controversy last week. The flight carrying her body landed first in Ottawa to refuel and to allow over one hundred soldiers who had finished their rotations to disembark there. The plane then continued to Trenton with Trooper Blais' remains for the usual repatriation ceremony there. An anonymous email from a military member had told the media that there would be no ceremony or flag lowering in Ottawa, which caused the Chief of Defence Staff, General Walt Natyncyzk, to issue a public apology late Thursday. See coverage of the story in the Globe and Mail here and the CDS's statement here.

It would be unfortunate if this controversy caused Canadians to overlook the great care and attention that official Canada gives to our fallen soldiers and their families upon their return. Both the CDS and the Governor General were in Trenton last Thursday for Trooper Blais and her family, as they have been for many other repatriations. It's also worth noting that our small country and military have returned our Afghanistan casualties in the full light of press coverage and with full ceremony. In contrast, it may be worth noting that the Obama administration has lifted an eighteen year ban on press coverage of the return of killed American service personnel to the United States via Dover Air Force Base. See a Washington Post article on this change, marked by allowing the media last Sunday to witness the return of Staff Sergeant Philli Myers, also killed by an IED in Afghanistan, to Dover here.

Rest in peace, Trooper Blais and Staff Sergeant Myers, and may ight eternal shine upon you.

No comments:

Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


Blog Archive