Ottawa- After an ongoing battle with Parliament to get improved benefits for Canadian Veterans, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that all World War II veterans will be given full access to a Sherman tank on November 11 to drive over their choice of a German Volkswagen or Japanese Honda, depending on their theatre of wartime service, and what Axis power they were battling at the time.
This announcement comes at a time when Canadian Veterans are seeking further compensation for their military service, of which they will be honourably recognized on November 11 in ceremonies across the country. In co-operation with both the German and Japanese Embassies who are donating hundreds of Volkswagens and Hondas to the initiative, many veterans are excited at the chance to once again wreak havoc on their wartime enemies in a respectful and ceremonial way.
"It's been over 65 years since I've had the chance to crush some Jerry tin, and this new ceremonial tank crushing will be cathartic for a lot of us veterans." exclaimed World War II vet Barry Hawkins, who served in the European Campaign during the closing months of WWII. "Harper's plan to allow us to drive a tank over a Jerry or Jap car is brilliant and will give us all a sense of closure on a terrible chapter of our lives." commented Hawkins who will be joining fellow veterans on Parliament Hill November 11 for the tank crushing ceremony. Both the Japanese and German embassies, former Axis powers during World War II, have graciously donated hundreds of vehicles to be crushed by the Sherman tank, or M4 as it was known by the Commonwealth during Second World War service.
The Harper government announced the tank crushing ceremony as part of a recognition initiative aimed at helping veterans who served their country in wartime, and bring to light their distinguished service for their country. "All veterans of all eras need to be recognized for their valour and courage in protecting our freedom, then, now and for future generations." Harper announced during the press conference Monday morning. "It is a small token of appreciation, but I hope veterans across Canada will be able to enjoy the tank crushing experience and be able to let go some of their memories and connect with their former enemies in a contemporary fashion." Harper explained.
German Ambassador Helmut Schmeer and Japanese Ambassador Hakara Fujimi were more than willing to donate vehicles from their respective countries for the tank crushing ceremony, and hope the event will bring relief and closure to the veterans who fought against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan during World War II. "It's the least we could do to help the veterans of Canada who fought against the oppression of our mis-managed countries back in the dark period of World War II." replied Schmeer, who will be in the restored Sherman tank as it drives over his country's donated vehicles. "We need to work together to remember and respect the past, but also put the past behind us once and for all." Schmeer commented.
Veterans across the country are excited about Harper's announcement and are pleased there is progress in recognizing the veterans service. "This is a great opportunity for us to finally bring closure to our service and enlighten others about forgiveness, and reconciliation." WWII veteran Hal Goodman explained.
Remembrance Day ceremonies across Canada on November 11 will hopefully educate and remind Canadians of the sacrifice and commitment many young men and women made to their country during wartime. Help remember and support our veterans with the donation and display of a poppy as Canada and the world remembers its veterans this week.