I am currently deployed to Afghanistan. I just came from a ramp ceremony. It’s where they carry a casket to the plane to send home. His name is Brian. He was 42; from Ottawa. He has a wife and 2 daughters; one who shares my name.
Attendance is not required but it is something I feel everyone should do at least once. Just like I think the news should show flag-draped caskets arriving home. The men and women dying here are not just statistics. They’re people with families and they need to be honored and their sacrifice needs to be known by the general population. A population that’s busy trampling each other to get to the sale items at Wal-Mart. Priorities seem misplaced from here.
It was cold and very windy out on the flight line. It was difficult standing at attention. You had to brace yourself against a wind that was trying to blow you over and you couldn’t wipe the snot running from your nose or rub your eyes that were stinging from the wind and dust. But whatever the weather (and it does go to both extremes here), I’ll be out there. Because I don’t want to forget those fathers, mothers, sons and sisters. Because the next time, it could be me.
Next week I’ll travel home for the first time in 6.5 months. After 2 weeks I’ll return for another 6 months. Whatever your feelings on the war, I encourage you to attend a ramp ceremony for a returning soldier, airman, marine or sailor if you happen to live near a base. This war will not end if people at home are permitted to forget that it is still happening; that people are still dying.
And don’t tell my mother I said it could be me next time! As far as she knows there is nothing dangerous here, I never leave the safety of the base and the Taliban never fire rockets into our camp!
My thoughts are with Canada this week.
**I am not in the Armed Forces; I merely work for them. I deployed as a civilian and enjoyed the protection of US, Canadian, Dutch and British Forces; for which I am eternally grateful. I do not wish to be seen as making the same kind of sacrifices as those who sign up to protect and defend.