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Service not just overseas

Published in the Barrie Advance

11 November 2009

This time of the year, our thoughts turn to our military veterans; those brave men and women who have donned the uniform of Canada. We particularly honour those who served overseas, in combat zones or on peacekeeping tours, but any person who has honorably served in the Canadian Forces deserves the thanks of the nation too.

However, there is a forgotten group that also deserves the thanks of the nation: those civilians who served on the home-front holding down important jobs. Using WWII as an example, there were many who did not serve in the military, but they can hardly be accused of “not doing their part.” It is easy to forget that not everyone was, and still are, needed in the military.

Even during the darkest days of WWII, we still needed police officers patrolling our streets, firefighters protecting our cities and towns, prison guards working in our prisons, teachers working in our schools and doctors working in hospitals. We still needed farmers and factory workers, particularly those working in defence production facilities. We still needed workers running our banks, radio stations and newspapers.

We still needed truck drivers, railroad workers, hydro workers and construction workers. I could go on, but I think you get the point. Just because a country is at war, doesn’t mean it comes to a complete standstill.

I personally know a man who tried to join the army during WWII, but since he was a farmer, was told that he was needed on the farm instead. This man is not considered a veteran, but his job tending to livestock and crops was very important to the war effort. Now undeniably there were people who used these and other jobs as a reason to avoid serving in uniform, but it is equally undeniable that someone had to do these jobs.

Those who served, and continue to serve in uniform, deserve the recognition and appreciation from all Canadians that they receive.  I’m certainly not attempting to diminish what they did, especially those who served and died on the front lines. All I ask is that we remember those who did their part for their country, but don’t have the medals to prove it.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/service-not-just-overseas/

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