SATURDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — The politics that earmarked the lead-up to the National Day of Honour to celebrate the end of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan was pleasantly absent yesterday.
For weeks there had been finger pointing about poor planning, broken protocols and political gaffs. It was labeled, by some, as a publicity stunt by the Stephen Harper government.
But, on the day itself, all that seemed mostly set aside in favour of showing appreciation to those who count — the veterans of the war in Afghanistan.
In Ottawa, the nationally televised ceremonies were touching and appropriate. Politicians avoided sniping at each other and focused on expressing the nation’s thanks to the veterans and their families.
At the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 52 in Kamloops, veterans, family and visitors chatted pleasantly about the purpose of the day, the weather and a lot of things. The only politicians there were Senator Nancy Greene Raine, filling in for MP Cathy McLeod who was still in Ottawa, and Mayor Peter Milobar, who attended briefly and had a glass of beer.
The good thing about it is this — for all the mistakes that were made, for all the politics and whatever the intentions, the National Day of Honour did what it needed to do, namely send a message of appreciation to those who served their country when they were needed.