Tuesday, October 17, 2006

42

That number used to be one of my favourite numbers. Not just because of Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And not even because that age was an especially good year for me. It was just one of those numbers that are pleasing to me - among my reasons the elegance of how its front equals twice its back.

But events of this past weekend have spoiled the number for me. Sgt. Darcy Tedford and Pte. Blake Williamson have become deaths #41 and #42, members of our Canadian Forces who have died in Afghanistan.

I don’t use the word casualties to describe their being killed. There is nothing casual about these deaths.

The last time I blogged about the number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan was April 25. I realize now that the date was ANZAC Day, the day Australians remember their soldiers killed in action. Since that posting, the number of dead Canadian soldiers has nearly tripled.

Even back in April, when I tried to compile a list of the dead soldiers as a sidebar, the list wouldn’t fit. So here they are below, the names of the 42.

Sgt. Darcy Tedford
Pte. Blake Williamson
Trooper Mark Andrew Wilson
Sgt. Craig Gillam
Cpl. Robert Mitchell
Pte. Josh Klukie
Cpl. Glen Arnold
Pte. David Byers
Cpl. Shane Keating
Cpl. Keith Morley
Pte. Mark Anthony Graham
Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish
Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan
Sgt. Shane Stachnik
Pte. William Jonathan James Cushley
Cpl. David Braun
Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom
Master Cpl. Jeffrey Scott Walsh
Master Cpl. Raymond Arndt
Cpl. Christopher Reid
Pte. Kevin Dallaire
Sgt. Vaughn Ingram
Cpl. Bryce Jeffrey Keller
Cpl. Francisco Gomez
Cpl. Jason Patrick Warren
Cpl. Anthony Boneca
Capt. Nichola Goddard
Cpl. Matthew Dinning
Bombardier Myles Mansell,
Lieut. William Turner
Cpl. Randy Payne
Pte. Robert Costall
Cpl. Paul Davis
Master-Cpl. Timothy Wilson
Pte. Braun Woodfield
Cpl. Jamie Murphy
Sgt. Robert Short
Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger
Sgt. Marc D. Leger
Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer
Pte. Richard Green
Pte. Nathan Smith

That's an awful lot of dead human beings. Try making a list of 42 friends. It's a lot of people - too many to invite to a party unless you're Bill Gates.

I am ashamed to say that Russ Hiebert, the MP from my riding, is parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor. Among tasks involved in this position is serving as O’Connor’s stand-in during question period. I am left feeling queasy thinking he might be in a position to make an emergency decision if one were required.

If you’d like to write to Russ to let him know how you feel about this ‘mission’ (how’s that for ugly irony – a word with religious connotations as a euphemism for war?), here’s his email address: Hiebert.R@parl.qc.ca

Or better yet – remember, postage is still free to write to a Member of Parliament – why not write him a letter? His address is 311 Confederation Building, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6.

1 comment:

Janet said...

Thank you Heidi for this post. To the families of those who have been killed - I wish you some recognition of your loss from our government, from our society.