WHY I SUPPORT OUR MILITARY : I was very touched by the loss of Jack Bouthillier which occurred in spring 2009 in the region where I grew up. The reaction of people in northern Ontario has really helped me realize that war existed. The death of Jack raises awareness to the reality that there are countries that still need to defend the freedom for which we are privileged. Jack was a guy who had at heart the welfare of people. He joined the Canadian Forces with the desire to represent his country where terrorism and violence make victims in populations in need. The desire to make a difference in people's lives is part of the commitment that the military have in common.

Despite his young age he has marked his place as much within his community as in the profession he chose. We can see that his involvement in the evolution of our society still mark people's memory because the region of Hearst displays openly its support for the troops. One notices the yellow ribbon symbol in the windows of several businesses on Highway 11 which crosses the city. Some companies have chosen to wear Red on Friday. This simple gesture is not only aimed at Soldiers in Afghanistan but for all who are part of the entourage of the military. I met family members of Soldiers who have tears in their eyes when they see me wear Red on Friday. This affects them greatly.

The loss of Jack who has deeply shaken northern Ontario leads people to take time to understand the implication of a Soldier with the Canadian military. His parents, who still support the troops despite the loss of their child proudly, share the experiences that Jack lived in the army. It is with great interest that I listen to stories told by Raynald and Elaine Bouthillier. Being around them led me to have a better opinion about the military world even if I have not personally met their son. It changes my vision seeing parents as involved encouraging all those still taking part in the Forces. Raynald and Elaine stayed close to Jack’s friends.

The cause of the Military Support

I was looking for some time to get involved in a cause but I could not find the environment that had needs that would motivate me to get involved. It was when my friend Danielle decided to organize an awareness event to support the Troops that I became more aware of the help I could provide. With the organization of this activity, I had to find information to better understand this medium. Slowly I met with militaries and veterans and their families.

The more I learned more enthusiasm took place, I had found the cause I wanted to support. The fact of providing people with all the information I learned during my research motivated me to go further in my commitment. The information were sent to me without my having to search too far, I discovered a different world than what we are told by the media. I spoke with people who went or are still on the ground. I was fascinated by these soldiers who thanked me for doing this for them. They expressed to me how they needed to know that people were behind them. Moreover, I was amazed by the messages of the spouses behind their men during their mission in Afghanistan and for prolonged periods.

What I saw and what I learned was about to completely change my view of the military. I wondered how it was that we never hear of these things. I had been misinformed; I adopted the beliefs of others. I trusted what was told; even to hear or read the news I felt that we were the only ones to fight in foreign lands. I was bitter toward our government who sent our people to risk their lives this way. I saw only the word WAR and I watched the Afghan people with a haughty air. I was in a state of defamation/downgrading this culture because I had heard only one version, that is to say what is said in the media.

What I learned from the Military :

To become a military or Soldier is a job, a career which is part of available choices to earn his living. A choice which every human being of the planet has to make at some point of his/her existence to meet its needs. As any job, there are sometimes functions to be filled we do not always like but that need to be fulfilled. Again, the individual responsible for these functions has to do the work required since its part of his responsibilities. A firefighter chooses his job to save people, not because he loves the fire, the doctor chooses to guide people to stay healthy and not to feed the disease, the officer chooses his job so that peace prevails and that it is respected. A trucker carrying flammables risks his life while on the road. We are not aware that many jobs performed in Canada are subject to risks as no one draws our attention to them. It would be especially interesting to see how many people die during the year by doing a dangerous job.

Following these findings I add that I have met people who are proud to be part of those who have worked so that freedom continues to be part of our current values. These people are passionate about their profession; it’s a career that also brings personal satisfaction and fulfillment. I got to see this job through the eyes of a Soldier who stood before me and did not regret the career choices made some time ago. I saw young Soldiers motivated to go help these people to live better instead of knowing misery. These same people taught me that the army involves several countries, all of which aim to AID, there is no more boundaries when the positive and negative emotions are experienced for the same cause.

Remember our origins

Since I organize activities to support the troops I have heard disparaging comments against the Afghan people as: it is a gang of arrears, they will never change, they let themselves be led by their religious belief; it is impossible that the presence of our army could change something, people chose to enlist in the army so let them deal with their choice, it is only our Canadian military involved in this war. I clearly felt indifference and judgments fed by the feeling of being better than them. Some Canadians believe they are too advanced for actions of the sort.

Let’s remember at the time when people were burned alive because they had activities or unacceptable behaviours in the eyes of the Catholic religion. There were hangings and massacres towards nations others than ours once again in the name of religion. We forced the natives to change their habits believing we would civilize them. Elsewise, the war which took place on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec was to have the power on the weakest. I am not the most gifted to remember the lesson of history that we learned in school but I remember some quite strange stories. We remember very all the strange beliefs that the canadian citizens adopted in the name of their religion.

Yet when I look at what we've become today, I think an evolution had to take place in everyone’s mind. Slowly the customs changed, beliefs have transformed to provide an opportunity for each individual to be oneself.

If each person took a few minutes to get into a state of compassion, respect, accepting the weaknesses of others and doing so with humility, we would see the rate of energy rise and this would give people the chance to evolve. A human being need to be RECOGNIZED for what he does, he also needs to be LOVED for what he is to GET a better SELF ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE. To BE an accomplished individual.

Conclusion :

My message becomes clearer as I get ahead in my mission, I have the gift to communicate and bring people together. I now feel that I can put those skills to service a group of individuals with a mandate to help others, this individual who continues the inner call to serve his country so that we can live freely.

I support the Soldier who needs to know that I'm behind him or her, my support is also distinguished by providing information on activities taking place or sharing messages of encouragement that I receive as much among civilian or military. I notice since my involvement to support the troops there are many people who want to show their support after learning a little more but they do not know how.

As a civilian, I invite those who wish to support me in my mission. I need that in turn you pass the newly acquired information. Another way of supporting the troops is to wear red on Fridays, a simple and free gesture but that is so heart-warming to those who are concerned.

Thank you for taking the time to read ...

Lise Charron