Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The case for a new medal

Editorial from today's Windsor Star:
Medal to rally behind

Army veteran and retired Windsor police officer Murray Sinnot is spearheading a campaign to honour wounded Canadian soldiers with medals and rings and this community and country should rally behind him by contacting their MPs.
Sinnot isn’t taking credit for the idea of bestowing an honour similar to the Purple Heart on Canada’s soldiers — it’s been floated before — but he deserves credit for reviving it and promoting it at a time when so many brave soldiers are risking their limbs and lives in the deserts and mud-walled villages of southern Afghanistan.

“Whether you support the mission in Afghanistan or not, everyone should respect our soldiers who put their lives on the line,” said Sinnot, a Royal Canadian Legion member who served with the militia from 1954-57 and the regular army from 1957-65. “If I saw someone with that ring on their finger, I would walk up to them and say ‘thank you.’ "

Thirty-six Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan since 2002 and scores more have been wounded, a general term that fails to adequately convey the devastating, life-altering impact of injuries that include the loss of arms and legs.
Sinnot, in today’s Letter of The Day, argues it wasn’t right that wounded soldiers were denied due recognition during his years of service and that it isn’t right today. He is absolutely correct.

Wounded soldiers currently receive a blue and gold braid known as a “wound stripe” to sew on their dress uniforms but they deserve far more than that. They deserve a ring at the very least and we should all support Sinnot’s campaign to provide them such a small token of our appreciation.

Recognize our troops

Award medals to those fighting in Afghanistan

Published: Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I am suggesting an award that has been long overdue. Firstly, this is not an original idea on my part; I have seen articles suggesting this award in various publications over the years but nothing ever gets done. Our troops are being killed and wounded in Afghanistan as I plead for the implementation of this award.

I am requesting that our government implement a decoration (medal) for those wounded in the service of our country. Whether you agree or disagree with our government's decision to be involved in Afghanistan, our troops need to be recognized for their effort and deserve our full support. There is an old army saying that, "if you will not stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them." The Forces personnel would have the documentation and resources to verify bona fide recipients.

The cost to our nation would be negligible; I believe that all wounded veterans that are still with us be so honoured.

The decoration (medal) should be distinctive, leaving no doubt about what it was awarded for. This medal could be an enamelled crimson maple leaf on an enamelled white background. The carrier ribbon should be of the same colour scheme. The medal could be named the Crimson Maple Leaf. Other nations have awarded war wound medals for centuries.

The question a non-military person might ask is, why is this so important to the wounded person and why is it so important to you? I speak for ex-service and civilian friends of mine who heartily agree that Canada should recognize and honour persons wounded who stood in harm's way on our behalf. To the recipients, it would be a badge of honour for the rest of their lives. This is very little compensation but at least it shows we care. Years later, at ceremonies where medals are worn, the recipients could wear this medal with pride. And rightly so. I further suggest that along with this medal, a ring be awarded. Perhaps a distinctive crimson maple leaf on a white background to identify recipients as, Heroes of Canada.

I was a member of the Essex Scottish Regiment (Militia), 1954-57 and the Canadian Army (regular) 1957-65. Most of my instructors and NCOs were veterans of the Second World War; some of them had visible disabilities and disorders. There was no distinction nor recognition for those who sacrificed limb and sight, as well as a multitude of ailments. The lack of recognition was not right then and it is not right now.

I am a proud member of the Royal Canadian Legion and other national military organizations. I intend to send them a copy of this letter to reprint as they see fit in their publications and e-mail notices. I will be requesting their support for this medal and ring by making MPs aware of this lack of recognition. I am going to send a copy of this letter to Mr. Don Cherry of Coaches Corner who openly supports our troops and my MP Jeff Watson. I will request that he bring this matter forward in the House of Commons. Possibly local newspapers could get behind this appeal and encourage the MPs to formally and publicly recognize our true Canadian heroes.

Murray Gordon Sinnott


I'm still not decided either way on this proposal, but am heartened that discussions of this type about our military are taking place. In the not too distant past, articles such as this would be lucky to grace the bottom half of page 29 of a newspaper let alone the Editorial page.


Post a Comment

<< Home