A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[LINK] “Winnipeg veteran told to return vet’s licence plate”

The CBC report concerning a Manitoban veteran of the Vietnam War upset that he can’t claim a veteran’s license plate because he fought in the Vietnam War somewhat infuriates me.

Canada was not a combatant in the Vietnam War, and Canadian citizens–even Canadian citizens in the United States–were not forced to fight. Why should anyone who volunteers to fight in a foreign country’s wars get honours because of it?

(Yes, this principle also applies to volunteers fighting in other conflicts, too.)

In 2012, the Royal Canadian Legion approved Ron Parkes’s application for the specialty plate because of his service in Vietnam. A couple of months later, it reversed that decision.

Staff told the 71-year-old Parkes that only those who fought in wars on behalf of Canada and its wartime allies qualify for the plates. He’s been told he has to give the plate back.

“It hurts,” Parkes said. “It just hurts that the legion seems to have nothing better do than to bully us.”

Parkes said he was 19 years old when he signed up with the U.S. military, as he did not want to linger on the Canadian army’s year-long waiting list.

“I sincerely felt I’d be serving my country as well in the U.S. army as I would in the Canadian army,” he said.

Parkes said he is proud of his service as a paratrooper.

“I’m a Canadian. I’m a veteran. I served honourably,” he said. “I met the criteria. I have no understanding why veterans don’t want to recognize veterans.”

Other vets like William Douglas of Winnipeg disagree, saying the rules are there for a reason.

“The plate is a veteran’s plate, so it should be restricted in my opinion to Canadian veterans,” he said.

In Ontario, those who fought in Vietnam do qualify for a veteran’s specialty plate, but that is not the case in Manitoba.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 28, 2014 at 4:08 am

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