A recent incident in Ottawa, which exposed another military poser, has stuck an emotive chord with Canadians coast to coast, particularly since the poser chose to appear at the National War Memorial, less than 75 metres from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the site of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s murder.
However, one only has to attend services at a local cenotaph to find members of so-called veteran’s service organizations wearing self-awarded medals, unearned hazardous skill badges and bogus foreign insignia. Their selfish actions do nothing but insult the gallantry, dedication to duty, integrity, honesty and the sacrifices made by members of Canadian Armed Forces.
We remember the blood, sweat and tears that it took to earn a piece of metal attached to coloured ribbon, a strip of cloth or an embroidered badge, and that is why we get somewhat emotional about them.
Fakery is not flattery, it’s cold, calculated deception with the goal of having one’s self-esteem issues assuaged by basking in the reflected glory of honourable men and women who have selflessly served this great country.
One must ask how many receptions honouring veterans have these fakers been invited to due to their “special status and position of honour “ within their respective groups?
How many have attended sporting events, battlefield pilgrimages, provincial or national conventions? How many of these fakers, embellishers and out-right fraud artists have received thanks for their service by an unsuspecting public?
If the answer is one, then even that is one too many.
As 18th-century British writer Samuel Johnson once said, “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier or not having been at sea.”