Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's a beautiful autumn day here in Tweed, Ontario, Canada. The leaves are starting to change colours and there are a few scattered here and there which give a very satisfying 'crunch' when you step on them. But something is very different.

There are Canadian Flags flying all over town.

Now, Canadians are not like you Americans. My father was always joking when I was growing up that any excuse an American could think of they would wave their flag. In my experience, not many Canadians I've met are patriotic. We haul out our flags on July 1st faithfully, but after Canada day you seldom see one other than on government buildings. When I drove through the downtown core on Monday I was overwhelmed by emotion. There were flags everywhere. Everywhere! I think they should stay.

Not only is this town flying the flag, but most every town. This is because throughout this week, 1200 more of our troops are being deployed to Afghanistan. This week, after we've just repatriated our 97th slain soldier. This week which just happens to be the 7th anniversary of 9/11.

All this week, people have been arriving to greet the troops as they cruise through town. There are stations set up at Tim Horton's (love of Tim Horton's is just something that's ingrained in our culture--there's even one in Kandahar), and people set up their lawn chairs on the sidewalk downtown. Everyone has a flag and is wearing red and white. (I'm not even judging people for wearing white pants this far into September--I however, will not go that far). School closes down as all of the students are lining the sidewalks waiting for the convoys to appear.

I'm not even the type, but I'm out there too. I'm wearing a red Roots t-shirt right now, because I just came home from seeing them off. I've been out there this week greeting troops with a full face of makeup and a smile. Jeremy was teasing me and said that I was 'trolling for soldiers'. I'm not Lydia Bennett, I'm doing what I can. Smiles are free, after all, and I have time on my hands.

The climate around here this week makes me think of how it must have been when young boys were being sent off for the World Wars. Proud, yet sad. And angry. Still very angry. Frustrated. Scared. You name it. I fear that we're headed into a World War and many of the signs point to that.

When was the last time that Canada, the U.S. and Japan all had an election at the same time? If I'm not mistaken, it was right before World War II, the consequences of which are still evident in me. Even at my age, I was raised with a war mentality. I eat everything on my plate and I save scraps of string, for goddess sake! Right now since it's fall I've been heavily into preserves and stocking up on lentils, rice, salt, sugar and tea. If only I could stock pile gasoline I'd be all set.

I don't know why, but I feel very emotional about this week. Even though I'm decidedly anti-war, I happen to be supportive (this week at least) of this one. I'm trying not to feel as I once used to, that these soldiers are dying because George Bush is an idiot. This week I feel proud. I feel proud that they are willing to make such a sacrifice for us here at home. That we may live here in our cozy little country in our cozy little lives; watching what is happening on the news, talking about how awful it is and then turning our backs again to resume eating our dinners. At least there are people out there who are willing to defend our right to live the way we do. To keep us safe. To keep my babies safe.

I've changed my views on this war because I don't feel that these Taliban people can be reasoned with. How can you reason with someone who is mental enough to fly planes into buildings because they're convinced that God has told them to do so? The thing is, you can't. All we can do is to try to defend our own way of life and hope that we have the men and the resources to win out over the enemy.

I don't think the war should have been started, but for fuck's sake, finish it! So very non-Buddhist of me to say this, but kill the fuckers! I'm sad and I'm angry and I just want these people to be able to come home and say that they were successful. I don't want 97 Canadians to have died in vain.

Is it too much to ask?