Merry Christmas to all!
The Edmonton RCMP Veterans Association held their 2014 Christmas Dinner at the Kingsway Royal Canadian Legion in Edmonton on December 20th. With their spouses (sometimes referred to as the “Second Man”), they celebrated another year of honorable service to their country. This is a tradition carried on in Alberta since November 4th, 1886. (Go to the photo gallery to see some of the photo's of the dinner. Or click here.)
Behind us in time, we always honor our dead. As we move forward through time, we have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to forget. We still, as retired members of the Force, by our own activities, continue to give of ourselves to other Canadians. That’s who we are! (Did you know that on the 10th of July 1901, it was suggested that the Government of Canada recognize the NWMP Veterans Association as a reserve corps of the Force.)
In 1901, during a Force inspection by the Duke and Duchess of York, the Duke of York presented South African War medals to members of the NWMP Veterans Association. In 2014 the Royal Canadian Legion officially recognizes retired RCMP members as “veterans”.
You have to ask, why so long? Our own government today will not fully recognize retired members of the Force as veterans to be accorded the same attention as our military counterparts. (Are the referee’s of today’s hockey game provided the same notoriety of the players – NO. But, are the ref’s of that same hockey game a requirement to even hold the game – YES. Do you see any parallel here?)
I believe, if the Government of Canada was to “openly and fully” recognize the RCMP veterans, as fervently as it does the Military, it would undoubtedly change the attitude and opinions of the civilian population of Canada in a positive way towards all police. However, this takes commitment, and time. Media campaigns today fall well short of enabling this.
To start the ball rolling in a small way, I do believe that there are photographs of our members, in all theaters of war, out there somewhere. I think these photographs should be sought out, and given an equally honorable place on the walls of the Legions, alongside our military brethren. Platitude or honesty?