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Click here to see A Tribute to
the Canadians wounded and killed by "Friendly Fire"
four Canadian soldiers who died April 18, 2002 were identified as:
Ainsworth Dyer, 25, of Montreal
Pte. Richard Green, 22, of Mill Cove, N.S.
Sgt. Marc Leger, 29, of Lancaster, Ont.
Pte. Nathan Smith, 27, of Tatamagouche, N.S.
The eight injured soldiers are: Sgt.
Lorne E. Ford, 33; MCpl.
Stanley P. Clark, 35; MCpl. Curtis R. Hollister, 29;
Cpl. Shane R.
Brennan, 28; Cpl. Brian M. Decaire, 25; Cpl. Rene
Paquette, 33; Cpl.
Brett R. Perry, 26; and Pte. Norman D. Link, 24.
APOLOGY TO A FRIEND
I'm an American citizen, and it's time to say
"I'm sorry" to a best friend.
The United States and Canada have been best
friends for well over 100 years. Every year, tens of millions
of Americans and Canadians cross the longest undefended border in
the world and share a rich history of brotherhood and commerce.
We've laughed and cried together over the generations -- celebrating
a peace between neighbors that other countries around the globe can
Canada's natural beauty is only matched by
its hospitality. It's a place where the world feels welcomed
and visitors are treated like royalty. While Canada sets the "gold
standard" for its Maple Leaf, the purest gold bullion coin in the
world, it also holds the standard for something much more valuable
-- its goodwill.
Americans have come to love Canada and its
people. Just recently, we cheered when the Olympics justly
awarded Canadian figure skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier their
well deserved gold medal. And you didn't see too many Yankees
shed a tear when the Canadian team beat the United States in the
Olympic finals to take Canada's first hockey gold in 50 years.
Moreover, the Toronto Blue Jays have been the only non-American team
to rightly earn the honor of being called World Series Champions.
Americans have always been inspired by Canada's determination, its
guts and its talent in all fields of endeavor.
Canada has always been there for us.
During World War I and II, Canada sacrificed over 100,000 lives for
the cause of liberty. Canada even sent its Atlantic naval
fleet to cover the American northern flank during the Cuban Missile
Crisis. And we will never forget what Ken Taylor did in 1980.
He was the Canadian Ambassador to Iran who risked his own life to
rescue Americans trapped during the Iranian Hostage Crisis.
When tragedy stuck the United States on
September 11, most of the countries around the world offered
sympathy and condolences. But few countries were actually
ready to stand up and be counted. Canada could have watched
the whole thing from the sidelines, but she took it upon herself to
get involved. Canada sent troops to Afghanistan to stand
shoulder to shoulder with America. It was more than a hollow
gesture. Canada bravely assumed her role as a full partner, willing
to sacrifice the lives of her young people to combat the evils of
However, that partnership was strained this
past week. Canadians heard the devastating news that four of
their soldiers were killed and eight were wounded. Sadly,
these casualties were not due to enemy fire, but rather "friendly
fire" by an American bomb mistakenly dropped on their position.
The incident is being investigated now, but the fact remains -- a
fatal accident occurred that has cracked the foundation of trust our
two countries have proudly built over the years.
Some Canadians realize war is a place where
accidents happen. Other Canadians are understandably angry,
defiant, and question Canada's role in Afghanistan. The
political debates will continue on, from the coffee shops to the
Canadian Parliament. Canada will determine her own course, as
she always has.
But there is one thing that cannot be
debated -- one thing that Canadians must understand.
While I am only one citizen, allow me to
speak for millions of Americans:
While no words can
bring your soldiers back, we are truly sorry that this accident
happened. Obviously, if we could make this all go away, we
However, no matter what the detractors say,
don't believe them. If they tell you Americans or the
international community don't appreciate you, they are not telling
the truth. We are eternally grateful for your support and
If they say your participation is being
taken for granted, don't believe them. Don't think for a
second that the American citizens aren't fully aware of who is
standing by us, and who is not. Canada is renowned throughout
the world, especially in the United States, for its defense of
freedom and its courage to fight for what is right.
There is little I can say to heal the
emotional wounds that have been inflicted upon the brave soliders'
families and Canadian society. We are all sorrowful and filled
with remorse. Our regret is sincere.
But please hear this simple message:
If and when the situation ever arises, you can be assured that the
American people will be there for you to help Canada in its hour of
need -- with our money, our resources, and yes, even our lives.
I truly hope that Canada will never need the U.S. to respond to such
a tragedy as September 11. But just in case it does, you can
bet American citizens will see to it that Canada never carries such
a burden alone.
We will never forget what you have done for
us, and we will teach our children that Canadians have given their
lives to help the cause of freedom. We will make sure that our
elected representatives understand and carry out this simple, but
powerful, mandate from the people:
America will ALWAYS stand by Canada,
as Canada has stood by us.
It's the least we
could do, and it's the least we WILL do, because Canada is more than
just a neighbor -- she is also a best friend.
-- Lee Simonson, American citizen
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