When a Canadian soldier dies in Afghanistan, or any where else they are serving in the world, the Legion branch I belong to lowers their flag to half staff. The usual protocol for a period of mourning is 10 days or the day of the funeral, which ever comes first. On this blog and one fo my other blogs, Out of the Shadows, I post a memorial entry which stays at the top of the blog for the same period.
The month of May has been a bit difficult to get that flag back to the top of the pole. In fact, we haven’t succeeded yet. We’ve had four Canadians killed in Afghanistan, which for my American readers is a very small number, spaced out so that 10 days has not passed without a death.
As some American friends have noted, if the Americans lowered their flags like we do, they would never fly at full staff. As much as I wait and pray for the day when the flag can be returned to the top of the pole, it flying at half staff reminds me that Canadians are putting their life on the line for me every single day.
Each of those ten days of flag flying at half staff means that I’ll be making a trip to the bridge to honour our fallen Canadian. As the motorcade makes its way from CFB Trenton to the coroner’s office in Toronto along the Highway of Heroes, I’m among the hundreds of Canadians who turn out to show the families, Canadians care.
The waves and acknowledgement from the military escorts mean a lot to those on the bridges but it is when the hands of the family waving as they pass by that we know, at least for this part of their journey, they know they are not alone.
Join me in prayer that the flag reaches the top of the pole and no more families will have to make that long journey.