Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Children of Petawawa

Having both been a soldier and a parent in my life the stories from CFB Petawawa, where it is reported that many children are "on the brink of suicide," have weighed heavy on my heart.

A Canadian childhood is supposed to be full of fun and carefree times, an opportunity to explore your world in safety and discover who it is you would like to be when you grow up. For the children of Petawawa, where many of Canada's Afgahnistan related deaths and injuries have had the largest impact, stress, anxiety and fear is more dominant. Their flags at school fly at half mast often, once for 49 days straight!

It's been reported in the news that the children are afraid of being called out of class in case they find out their mother or father are dead and that others hide in their homes with all the lights off, reasoning that if they can't be found when a military official comes to tell them their parents are dead, it won't be true.

We expect our soldiers to be brave (and they are), but thats a little too much to ask of their kids. These children need help - and I am happy that it appears they will now be getting it - but I am at a loss to understand why the support took so long to get into place when we knew this would happen.

Part of supporting our troops is making sure we look after their children and keep them safe until they return. It's the least we can do.

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