I shared this thought with my friend and felt it appropriate for Remembrance Day to share.
My rights and freedoms are not conditional on anything. They are inalienable and intrinsic, the defence for which falls squarely upon my shoulders.
No one ever fought or died defending my freedom.
In wars of the past those who fought, fought for their own freedom.
While such a fight is commendable, honorable, and worth remembering, it in no way confers a debt to myself or anyone else for their actions or their sacrifice.
If they themselves were free, they had the choice to make that sacrifice or not.
If they were not free, their sacrifice was worthless.
We are, however, all born free.
Evil people will always try to rob us of our freedom.
If there is one thing worth remembering on November 11, it is that the only thing that preserves our freedom is our own thoughts, our own words and our own actions. No one can defend our freedom if we first do not assume responsibility for it ourselves.
Legally, I am a veteran of the Canadian Army.
As such, I do not want anyone to believe they owe me anything for the freedom they enjoy.
No one owes me such a debt. No one owes anyone such a debt.
Freedom is intrinsic and inalienable.
Your freedom is yours.
It always was, and unless you make a choice to give it away, it always will be.
If you have lost it or given away your freedom, the responsibility to gain it back chiefly falls on your shoulders.
Not any soldier or veteran.
Certainly not on some President or Prime Minister.
You are responsible for your own freedom.
As a veteran, that is what I hope you remember on November 11.
When I first posted this, a friend noted that he felt I was owed respect by virtue of my service.
My response to him was as follows:
I believe respect should be earned, not owed.
Pierre Elliot Trudeau was also legally a veteran whose service was comparable to mine.
I have zero respect for that man.
Certainly there are veterans worthy of respect, but there also those who are not.
If I, as a veteran, have your respect, I hope it is because the character and abilities I demonstrate have earned it, not because of the intrinsic, unchanging attribute of my past – the fact that for seven years, I was a reserve soldier.
I am not ashamed of my service, but neither do I believe my service entitles me to your respect.
I can never not be a veteran but I certainly can be undeserving of your respect.