2015 Time to truly honor and bring closure to our veterans

If you want true closure for veterans of Canadian military intervention in the since 911, it begins with honoring all who served or suffered, and continue to die and suffer.

Closure begins with the truth, the good we did, the sacrifice we made, and the harm we did.   Both soldiers and innocent people died as a result of Canadian intervention, and our soldiers continue to die through taking their own lives.  True closure begins with speaking and accepting the truth, the mistakes we made, the collateral damage, accepting responsibility for the truth, making restitution and all being satisfied with the outcome.  This means the soldiers, the government, Canadian society, and those innocent civilians and families we harmed in the countries we conducted combat operations.

The truth in honoring veterans means not only listing war dead, but also naming those who subsequently took their lives from PTSD, those physically wounded and those currently suffering from PTSD.  If not names, then numbers.  This is a call to our Prime Minister and DND to do so!

It is beyond unacceptable that the government does not track veteran suicides.

That the department or government does not track veteran suicides is an affront to all veterans and serving members.  Every veteran taking his or her own life is a cause for national awareness and mourning.

Apologies do not suffice.  Words are hollow.  To truly honor veterans is to care for veterans.   We are directly responsible for what happened to them and need to show that we owe them and their families a “duty of loyalty and care” for the rest of their lives.

To honor veterans is also to make a good faith effort to make restitution for the harm we have done in our wars abroad.   To truly honor veterans is to build strong institutions for peace.   It is to give us better options to make war a truly last resort.  We should be a nation of peace, not a nation of war, in the global community!

Paul Maillet

Colonel retired

Former Director of Defence Ethics