Hole in My Jacket – Remembrance Day 2010

Hole in My Jacket – Remembrance Day 2010

That poppy, it’s worth the hole in my jacket and more

Weathered old hands hold a box of vividly red poppies

The young and old pass the veteran, he stands proudly and waits

“Buy a poppy?”a passing kid says, “I don’t want to put holes in my jacket.”


From Vimy Ridge to Kandahar, that poppy’s glow grows

From dusty boots in Afghanistan to the muddy shores of Juno Beach

Young souls lost, greater causes fought for

That poppy, it’s worth the hole in my jacket and more


From small town to big city Canada they serve

Under one flag they fight, under that same flag they perish

An enemy we never see they face, an ultimate sacrifice given

That poppy, it’s worth the hole in my jacket and more


A silhouetted soldier at sunrise salutes

Another comrade dead, another life taken too soon

On foreign soil they fall, what hell those final moments must be

That poppy, it’s worth the hole in my jacket and more


Flag draped coffins walked off hulking military planes

Brothers and sisters in arms salute, proud families tearfully wait

From highway overpasses the words “thank you” rain down

That poppy, it’s worth the hole in our jackets and more


Remember that poppy





– Vince Versace


Remembrance Day, Canada, 2009

Ottawa, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. photo by Vince Versace


Their faces flash across the screens, another young boy not coming home, another family man never again to hug his kids, another young woman never to return and be daddy’s little girl again. When does this all end and how do we make it so?

Old and weathered, our veterans of wars past grow frailer but they will soldier on today. They will attend cenotaphs across our great nation, to honour the war dead, honour their fallen friends and recall a sacrifice too great to ask of most.

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Val D’Or, Quebec, Penticton, British Columbia, Edmundston, New Brunswick – our fallen, our recent war dead on the field of battle in Afghanistan, may all hail from such different hometowns but they call one nation home, Canada and it is our responsibility to remember them.

They are in fact our brother, our sister, our father and our mother. On dusty, windswept plains, they fight, they soldier on, fighting an enemy that has never wronged them directly, never wronged Canada before this conflict, but now continually draws its pound of flesh at their expense and ours.

Do not forget them a world away. Do not let your support of them dwindle.

Most may not support the Afghanistan mission but we must stand behind them as they gear up, strap on their boots and serve their fellow brother and sister-in-arms and ultimately our country.

The little girl in the pink snowsuit will now only know her dad via video, pictures and her mother’s words. Another family will honour their fallen 21-year-old son by finishing the rebuild of the Barracuda he hoped to do with his father. Meanwhile, an elderly veteran in Fredericton is left speechless and visibly pained by vandals who destroy part of a war cenotaph in Fredericton.

The war brings so much pain to so many. We must honour not only those that have fallen but also their families now left to do the soldiering on, in their memory and in their hearts and lives.

Stand proud and honour both the fallen and the survivors, from decades ago and now.

If for one day in your busy lives, remember them all on Remembrance Day.

Red Eye deserves a punch in the eye

Leave it to Fox to enrage someone just before they head to bed.

If you have not heard, there is a lame late night show on Fox called Red Eye. In a recent segment they made fun of our Canadian troops and military, playing upon recent comments by a lieutenant-general in our military who stated our troops may need a one-year break when our Afghanistan mission winds down in July 2011.

The idiocy of this show simply knows no bounds. The panelists comments are bloody enraging. Though they present the facts to why our break may be needed, they proceed to rip on our troops and commitment in Afghanistan, saying things like :

– they did not know we were even in the war

– our troops want to do yoga

– our military wants to run along sandy white beaches in capri shorts

– apparently we do not have cops, just Mounties in red jackets and on horses

– we are not a smart culture

– we are “a ridiculous” country,  that should be invaded

– also, we can get away with taking a break because we share a border with most powerful nation “in the universe”

I realize the four morons on the panel cannot find Afghanistan on the map and might be hard-pressed to find Canada as well. These nimrods do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the Americans I know. Then again, the Americans I know are literate and would not be caught dead watching Fox.

Are we overreacting because of our national inferiority complex in reaction to the comments of these buffoons?

No. We are not.

At last count, 116 Canadian troops have died in Afghanistan as we help our ally, our friend, the United States.

We are not overacting with our anger and outrage because we are standing up for the families and friends of those troops that have died on dusty, remote, foreign soil a world away.

We are also not overreacting because we are standing for our troops that are over there right now, risking their lives.

We stand for our fallen troops with every comment, email and disparaging remark we make about Red Eye and the idiots on that panel. Sure, Red Eye benefits with all the added attention, so make your comments count.

We now fight and make sure that the commitment and sacrifices our troops make is not be trifled with and made fun of. This is not about not being able to take a joke, it is about respect and the fact some things should not be joked about.

Red Eye deserves a punch in the eye.

You can email them and let them know what you think at:


You can also let the Whitehouse know what you think of this disgusting display by Red Eye, by emailing them at:


You can also write President Barack Obama at:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Lastly, let Prime Minister Stephen Harper know what you think and would like him to say at:


or write or fax the Prime Minister’s office at:

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2

Fax: 613-941-6900

Wife of fallen Canadian soldier speaks

Today’s feature is a single showing simply because nothing else compares this week.

Michelle Brown, wife of Dennis Brown, a warrant officer with Canada’s troops in Afghanistan, took time to speak to media this week about the passing of her husband, her friend, her hero.

The strength, dignity and sincerity in her words in this clip are admirable beyond the words that can be written here. She explains to all of us on either side of the war debate divide, that there are men and women who want to go over and make a difference, there are people who answer a moral code and calling different and higher than most of us can imagine. She drives home a message many of us forget, or don’t wish to acknowledge, yet it is one others do heed and act upon.

Strength and peace to the Brown family and those of other fallen troops, whether Canadian or not.

Lest We Forget…Remembrance Day

Poppies cover the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa. photo by Vince Versace
Poppies cover the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa. photo by Vince Versace, 2004

 Photos of the Fallen 


Their faces flash by, some look like boys,

Their ages hit home, all so young, how’s this right?

Some smile, some look tense, others just merely stare



Fated to gods of war, their families wait hands clasped, 

Not my boy, not my son, they are so strong, they’ll come home

Some smile, some look tense, others just merely stare


He could be my neighbour; this other one could be my friend

Instead, a solemn 401 caravan rolls by and we salute goodbye

Some smile, some look tense, others just merely stare


Little girls with no dad to tuck them in

Little boys with no dad to take them to the rink

Some smile, some look tense, others just merely stare


A soldier’s wife reaches out in the night,

He is gone, she is alone, Why her man? Why this war?

Some smile, some look tense, others just merely stare


A world away they fight, a world away they try to survive

Do no forget I am there, their photos say – do not forget my life

Some smile, some look tense, others just merely stare 


Vince Versace


Remeber all the fallen today, their sacrifices are beyond anything we could imagine. photo by Vince Versace, 2004.
Remember all the fallen today, their sacrifices are beyond anything we could imagine. photo by Vince Versace, 2004.









Abducted CBC reporter released, no Lindhout news though

Great news, CBC reporter Mellissa Fung, the CBC journalist recently kidnapped north of Kabul has been freed.

Mellissa Fung, CBC reporter, kidnapped Oct. 12 and recently freed.
Mellissa Fung, CBC reporter, kidnapped Oct. 12 and recently freed.

Fung was kidnapped on Oct. 12 but details on how she has come to be freed are sparse. Canadian Press reports that tribal and provincial leaders helped in negotiating her release. Fung is currently at the Canadian embassy in Kabul (as of the afternoon of Saturday, Nov .8).

For more information click here http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/533435 .

On Deadline sadly has no update to report on the abduction of Canadian reporter Amanda Lindhout. Sources familiar with kidnappings state “blackouts”- extended periods of no information from kidnappers, are common.

Needless to say, there is growing frustration on the Lindhout front among followers of her situation. She is a freelance reporter and that sometimes means less clout on the bargaining table, which is really frustrating from this journalist’s view point.

On Oct. 22 news reports from Africa stated Lindhout and her colleagues were being poorly treated, also, the 15-day deadline for the $2.5 million ransom for their release, or they are killed, has passed. We have no new news beyond that.

I am happy Fung was released, I really am, but as I was reading about Canadian troops plans to free her in a raid, I kept thinking, “What about Amanda?”, does she not deserve a raid, either militarily or political, to get her out too?

I know, we are talking about two different countries, Somalia vs. Afghanistan, two different sets of priorities and politics, also, we have troops on the ground near Kabul, but here is the commonality, it is still a Canadian journalist, a Canadian life, captured while doing her job in an unstable region.

I still have faith that our Foreign Affairs department is doing what it can to help Amanda. I have to have that hope. I have to have that belief.

For those of you just catching on to this news about Amanda, or feeling like they need to know more about here or do something, here are some links:

Amanda’s LightStalkers Page

The Free Amanda Lindhout Blog

On Deadline’s first report about Lindhout’s abduction

Amanda Lindhout, kidnapped Canadian journalist.
Amanda Lindhout, kidnapped Canadian journalist.

Help Stand Up For Journalist Facing Death Sentence

A 23-year-old journalism student in Afghanistan has been condemned to death and what are you going to do about it? Click on this petition and sign to at least do the minimum you can to save a life. Click here on this petition and sign it.

Think of a family member, friend, neighbour or co-worker who you know is 23. Now think about them being possibly executed for downloading information from the Internet and distributing it to some classmates for debate, discussion or just plain old information.

The thing is, this is happening right now to Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh in Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh province, northern Afghanistan. Check out the Committee to Protect Journalist story or the Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty story for the full details.

Email our Prime Minister  or your local MP asking them to speak up for Kambakhsh and have Canada step up and tell the Afghanistan they cannot allow this to happen.

 What you need to know: 

         Kambakhsh is accused of downloading an article from the Internet that reportedly contained critical commentary on the Koran, noting that it said the Prophet Mohammed ignored women’s rights.

         Kambakhsh might be being punished because his brother has written critical articles about local officials and warlords

         He has been sentenced to death

 Why should you really care? Well, the exact freedom you are enjoying right now, to surf this blog, download what you want and post what you want is a luxury Kamabakhsh and his fellow Aghani cannot seem to enjoy. Also, they cannot seem to enjoy this freedom despite a new constitution the nation has after the Taliban was deposed. 

Lastly, remember there are Canadian, American and British forces, among others in Afghanistan, who are fighting and dying trying to secure peace and provide freedom for people there. So, if you “support your troops”. If you stand on local overpasses waving flags in honour of their funeral processions, click on this petition and sign it to help honour their efforts and memory.

 Click on this petition, sign it and know you at least tried to stand up for someone’s life.