Apology not a medal is in order
Sent via E-mail and Canada Post
Hon. Julian Fantino
Minister of Veterans Affairs
House of Commons
After accepting the Bomber Command Bar on behalf of my father Flt/Sgt Earl Stewart Rheaume (KIA) Iroquois Squadron 431 (R111159), I wondered what he would have thought of the medal and your message.
When our aircrew warriors returned home they were shunned and ostracized by the same ungrateful politicians that authorized and ordered them to bomb “non occupied civilian” targeted industrial sites.Later those warriors learned their raids had killed up to 600,000 mostly German civilians.
My father and over 55,573 out of a total of 125,000 aircrew (a 44.4% rate) of all Bomber Command warriors gave their lives so that future generations of Canadians would benefit from the freedoms we have today. They didn’t do it for any glory, medal or message from you or any other politician.
And now some seventy years later as Minister of Veterans Affairs you have the insolence to bring forth this medal to make all things right. You can’t change history or make “things” right with a medal.
If you really wanted to make things right you would have addressed those historical facts and figures and communicated the whole truth. An official apology was also long overdue and compulsory, but you chose the political route instead.
If you genuinely want to make things right correct the disgraceful benefits package that our men and woman veterans and their families live by.
Would my father be grateful for this Bomber Command bar? I highly doubt it.