Support Our Troops Through Red Fridays
In the September edition of Letters from our Readers, we published a letter from Caroleann MacWhirter, Deployment Support Coordinator, Gander Military Family Resource Centre in Newfoundland. In her letter, Caroleann challenged the public to support Canadian troops overseas by wearing a red shirt every Friday until they all come home. She cited an anonymous letter circulating the Internet as the inspiration for the Red Friday initiative. Here is that letter. (We caution readers that we have no way to verify the event described in this letter actually happened; but if it is fiction, it's a nice heartwarming story anyway.)
From the Daughter of a Soldier:
Last week I was in Trenton, Ontario, attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.
Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers. As they headed to their gate almost everyone was on their feet, waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded Canadian who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.
Of course, I immediately began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line every day for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than six or seven years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said "Hi" to the little girl. She asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22, said he would try. When he asked her what she wanted to give to her daddy, the little girl grabbed the soldier around the neck and gave him the biggest hug she could muster, then kissed him on the cheek.
The mother of the little girl, whose name was Courtney, told the soldier that her husband was a corporal and had been in Afghanistan for 11 months. As the mom was explaining how much Courtney missed her father, the soldier began to tear up. When she was done explaining her situation, all the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-style walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it. After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said to her, "I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you." He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying, "Your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon."
The mom by this time was crying almost uncontrollably. The young soldier stood and saluted Courtney and her mom before rejoining the soldiers who had begun to leave for their gate. Bystanders, including me, resumed their applause. I looked around and saw that there were very few dry eyes, including my own. Then that young soldier, in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney while a tear rolled down his cheek.
We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be a Canadian.