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Big Guy

There Are Heroes And There Are Heroes

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John Gallagher was a former Canadian soldier who travelled more than 9,000-kilometres to northern Iraq and then Syria to fight for the Kurds. He was killed and a few days ago his body was returned to Canada and driven home to Southern Ontario on the Highway of Heroes.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/he-lived-by-a-soldiers-code-canadian-killed-fighting-isil-in-syria-returns-home-on-the-highway-of-heroes

Gallagher had served in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry before leaving the Canadian Forces in 2005. He left for Iraq in April and fought with the Iraqi Peshmerga before crossing into Syria to join the YPG.

I have no problem with John's parents, family and friends being very proud of him - but - the Highway For Heroes is for Canadian soldiers fighting wearing Canadian uniforms and fighting for Canadian values. If we are going to start giving hero status to every volunteer, mercenary or soldier of fortune then we will be demeaning the value of our military. While John was living his values he is no hero to me nor should he be give any special status as to his actions.

What if he would have been captured - what pressures would that have placed on Canadian involvement?

You can leave Canada and go and join any army in the world. You have that freedom but I believe that any "Hero" status is reserved for our military personnel who fight under our colours and under our mandate.

Edited by Big Guy

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I agree, and I would go further. I believe "Hero" status ought to be reserved for actual heroes. I served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces and if I had been shot by a sniper in Northern Ireland I would have been unlucky, but no hero. Those who join the military do so because it's a job that appeals to them, and I assume they know the risks.

Edited by Charles Anthony
escessive quoting; deleted [Opening Post]

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If we are going to start giving hero status to every volunteer, mercenary or soldier of fortune then we will be demeaning the value of our military.

In this case he was fighting on the same side as Canadian forces that were deployed in the region at the same time (e.g. the CF18 bombing runs). This makes his situation different from people who simply go off to war.

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In this case he was fighting on the same side as Canadian forces that were deployed in the region at the same time (e.g. the CF18 bombing runs). This makes his situation different from people who simply go off to war.

But he was also fighting on the same side as Russia (as is Canada) and later fighting with YPG. That YPG army is the enemy of Turkey and Turkey is our ally. So was he with the good guys or the bad guys?

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I don't have much patience for people who feel the need to run off an kill people in other countries. At least when Canada sends soldiers, there is some opportunity for political debate (however poorly that works in practice). In my view, having Canadians running around participating in foreign wars is a poor reflection on this country.

I'm not usually a proponent for new laws but I'd be in favor of a law prohibiting Canadian citizens from taking up arms for a foreign army or cause. To me, the difference between a mercenary and a gangland hitman is just a matter of degree.

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I don't have much patience for people who feel the need to run off an kill people in other countries. At least when Canada sends soldiers, there is some opportunity for political debate (however poorly that works in practice). In my view, having Canadians running around participating in foreign wars is a poor reflection on this country.

I'm not usually a proponent for new laws but I'd be in favor of a law prohibiting Canadian citizens from taking up arms for a foreign army or cause. To me, the difference between a mercenary and a gangland hitman is just a matter of degree.

Do you think the number of Canadians who went to fight Fascism in Spain during the thirties were a poor reflection on this country? Quite the opposite IMO.

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Do you think the number of Canadians who went to fight Fascism in Spain during the thirties were a poor reflection on this country? Quite the opposite IMO.

Did it help?

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Would he be any less a hero if he died trying to help these people through non-violent means? Like bringing medicine and helping the vulnerable if they were sick if he were a doctor/nurse etc.

We need to do a lot more diplomacy rather than reaching straight for the murder toys whenever a security problem pops up. People lambasting Obama for doing so with Iran and clearly gunning for the military option (it's fine to criticize details of the deal, but c'mon) are dangerous blood-thirsty murdering fools & I have no patience for them. They make the world a more dangerous and bloody place, they need to be fiercely condemned and then completely ignored.

Edited by Moonlight Graham

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Maybe he was a Kurdish hero and could be honoured by whatever is the equivelent over there. But, mercenaries don't get the same honours as Canadian soldiers. That makes no sense.

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Canadian history is full of Canadians who have taken up causes around the world, some more famous than others, The history channel has made several series on this very topic, Such as the Canadian who flew for Britain with a wooden leg during WWII, or Israels first pilots were from around the globe, including Canada, and some of their ground commanders were Canadian, they have fought in almost every conflict, for almost every side, including Germany, Russia and Japan during WWII... they fought under many flags,not all of them were fighting for money , but ideals, morals and values some good some bad....

My point here is it takes a special kind of person to take action "any type of action" for their beliefs, ideals.. to risk it all for what they believe in.....Not everyone does...Canada does not hold the keys for "Good Causes safe", nor does her soldiers....I think that if those causes follow Canadian values, follow our basic moral compass settings, then they should also not be forgotten and remembered some how....be it in our history books, or a trip down some highway.....their sacrifice may not have been for Canada herself, but rather for another good cause for another nation in need.....

As a former soldier i'm sure those Canadian soldiers that have taken that long trip from Trenton to Toronto before young Mr Gallagher would not mind sharing the highway of hero's for his last trip...I think his motives, and intentions were in the same place as our soldiers are....I Think we owe him that for his former service in the very least....

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Good points AG, George Beurling, Canada's top scoring fighter pilot in WW2 lost his life ferrying an aircraft to Isreal in 1948 where he was going to fly for the Israelis. The aircraft caught fire after taking off in Rome. Sabotage was suspected but not proved.

Perhaps real vets are better qualified to put a value on their service.

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I agree.

A mercenary works for profit, and personal gain, The kurds don't pay much, in fact they don't pay at all, they feed you, give you all the ammo you can fire.....

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A mercenary works for profit, and personal gain, The kurds don't pay much, in fact they don't pay at all, they feed you, give you all the ammo you can fire.....

Well, he wasn't fighting for the Canadian forces even still.

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A mercenary works for profit, and personal gain, The kurds don't pay much, in fact they don't pay at all, they feed you, give you all the ammo you can fire.....

No... I suppose he wasn't. He heard "the calling", I read in one column cheerleading his stupidity.

The Kurds can honour him however they feel is appropriate, but he was fighting for a foreign force, not for Canada at the time of his unfortunate death.

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Your both missing the point....Canadian citizens join the forces for many different reasons, some are patriotic, some looking for adventure, some looking to be part of something bigger, some are looking to make a difference.....But once in those reasons change....for me it was the adventure, i grew up in the maritimes and jobs were scarce....that and i wanted to be part of something with a proud traditions behind it.....

But once your part of it, your surrounded by tradition, patriotism, your part of a team that can make a difference not only in Canadian lives, but in lives around the world.....Not much for a soldier to do in Canada....except train....but once your exposed to the world....armed with our values, our morals....it is hard not to want to do some good for those in need......These are just some of Canada's soldiers traits......Like i said before many famous and not so famous people have been involved in conflicts around the globe....They may of not been wearing the Canadian uniform, but they did identify with Canada .

.I'm not say we go out and build some huge monument to honor them.....we are talking about sharing a roadway....so friends and family could pay their final respects.....even if he did not wear the uniform upon his death, he was still one of us...he once served for us.....

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Anyone fighting in a Canadian uniform under the Canadian flag is representing us. They have the responsibility to act accordingly and are accountable for their actions. Yes, I agree that there are many reasons why they do what they do but under the guise of Canadian military they are following orders which in theory begin with the people of Canada. They deserve our respect for fulfilling that role.

When a Canadian decides to use skills taught to him by our military for personal goals then he has gone rogue. We have a person trained to kill using those skills for personal reasons. That is no hero to me. You may feel that he was a comrade but that is a minority opinion as to what I have heard from those who are retired and/or those who still serve.

As to Turkey being an ally, to-day Turkey is a fellow member of NATO. Tomorrow, it may be a competitor and later - an enemy.

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That trip he took down the high way....was arranged by the Canadian heroes foundation, the same organization that arranges the same route for fallen Canadian armed forces members, if you watch the footage you'll see he is being escorted by Canadian military vets on Moto bikes and a Van that is also apart of that groupthe same people were also Pall bearers......Just a point of order there was thousands that turned out, including police officers, fire fighters, serving members of the Armed forces, and you guess it Canadians citizens ....all happen to share that minority opinion....

Not sure how many you rub elbows with down at the local legion.....but i can ensure you thousands of Canadians don't share your view.....

When a Canadian decides to use skills taught to him by our military for personal goals then he has gone rogue.

You can call him anything you want, that's within your freedoms, the very same freedoms that John Gallagher once defended....and for that he has my respect..

“He used to be in the military,” Casper Koevoets of the Royal Canadian Legion [/size]told the London Free Press. “He was fighting the right fight that he believed in. I think he deserves a hero’s welcome home.”[/size]

From the legion no less......

The Canadian Heroes kite will be flying at the Cambridge location. Members of the OPP will escort the body along the route, with Chatham-Kent police and fire providing an honour guard at the funeral home

Even more people that do not mind sharing the highway for someone who truey believe he could help someone else in the fight again'st a common enemy.....Hardly the actions of a rogue ex military member....

Sgt. Brent Schriner, chair of the Canadian Heroes Foundation, said that Gallagher 'lived by a solder's code

No mention of rogue here.....

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3327834/Hundreds-come-pay-condolences-John-Gallger-s-body-returned-home.html

http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/happening-now-john-gallagher-receives-hero-welcome-on-hwy-401

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/11/18/highway-of-heroes-style-tribute-sought-for-volunteer-soldier-killed-in-syria

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Each to his own. Personally, I am satisfied that no official Canadian government agency treated him as a Canadian soldier dying in combat.

I do understand that those in the military have a specific military code and attitude. That is why they have joined. Those who have not joined may have a different outlook.

Edited by Big Guy

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