Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Making the children happy is the most rewarding thing about this tour"

Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom, the Canadian medic recently killed in Afghanistan, was from the Comox Vallley, my home in B.C. While I didn't know him or his family, learning he's from Comox does serve to bring the conflict a little closer to home.

I believe in our role in this conflict, and so did he. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't constantly re-evaluate our strategy and tactics in Afghanistan. But I do hope that, as the death toll continues to rise, we will still as a nation feel each casualty, and remember that each lost soldier is someone's son or daughter, mother or father, wife or husband.

A story in the Edmonton Journal tells Eykelenboom's story, and the hometown paper, the Comox Valley Echo, printed the last e-mail that he sent to his parents in Comox, just days before his death in a suicide attack, and I thought I would share it with you:

Hi Mom and Dad:

Well, I finally got the picture you have been waiting for. About two weeks ago a little girl brought her infant sister to the Unit Medical Station while I was on duty. She had 2nd degree burns on her hand from touching a kettle. I bandaged her hand and after gave a doll that your friend made to her. She instantly stopped crying and started sucking on the nose of the doll. A special thanks goes from her older sister to your friend for such a wonderful gift; and a thanks from me for being the one to accept her gratitude. Making the children happy is the most rewarding thing about this tour.

Love Andrew

A funeral service for Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom will be held this Saturday at 1:00 pm at the Comox Pentecostal Church. He will be missed.

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billg said...

The right has to pressure Harper to keep the Canadian people informed and to keep our mission up front and centre...statements like " Canadians dont cut and run"...are dumb and disingenuous. The left has to understand that peacekeeping now means fighting back against those who dont want peace. Its a shame, because, its should be a no brainer...we are in Afghanastan because the Liberals put us there and it was the right thing to do...and we are still in Afghanastan because its still the right thing to do...

Jihad_Joe said...

Politicalizing losses is bad too...and all the parties are doing it, including the Tories. While every death is a tragedy, a soldier's job is too fight and die. Contrary to what the NDP believes, Canadians do not sign up to be peacekeepers, they want adventure, and abhor the term "peacekeeping".

Our country it seems cant collectively accept war dead anymore. Compared to the bloodbaths in WWI & II we are getting off lightly.

foottothefire said...

Thanks for that, Jeff.

foottothefire said...

To Billig and Jihad Joe;
it's probably a good thing there are some folks who can excorcize this Afghan thing down to the simplest minded terms for some other folks. Appreciate your comments.