Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
What is a veteran?
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 10 Nov 2006, p. 7

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Not long ago, I overheard a discussion. The two parties disagreed on the definition of a veteran. The one rather belligerently said a veteran was simply someone who had served in one of the two world wars-- end of discussion. "And veterans are a dying breed," he added. The other disagreed, saying a veteran was not necessarily only someone who saw action in the two world wars. It got me to thinking-- I agree that a veteran is more than someone who has served exclusively in either The Great War (The First World War) or the Second World War. My first action was to contact the Veteran's Affairs Canada office for their official definition. They replied: "All former members of the Canadian Forces are recognized as Veterans provided that they meet two requirements: the Department of National Defense's (DND) professional military occupational classification requirements, and have been released from the Canadian Forces with an honourable discharge. This includes the `traditional' Veterans - FWW, SWW, Korea, in addition to all former members of the Canadian Forces (as per above). Basically, if you've served with the Forces, you are a Veteran." It's accepted that a veteran had to be in the service-- we all agree on that. I think he or she had to see active duty, and some veterans' organizations spell it out as `a service person who has been a member of the armed forces, and served in an arena of conflict-- but not necessarily one of war.' I feel that is the best one. This year in The Independent & Free Press's annual Remembrance Day special section, I was honoured to interview Don Marshall, a veteran of the Falklands conflict. Don is almost a decade younger than me, yet I feel he's entitled to the same respect for his contribution as any vet who landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, or went `over the top' at Vimy Ridge almost 90 years ago. The Falklands conflict wasn't a war-- neither the Brits or the Argentineans officially declared

war, yet it was certainly an arena of conflict. Ships were sunk, aircraft were shot down and troops died. And Don Marshall could well have been one of them. I'm sure he returned a bit different than when he left home-- older, seasoned, maybe a little scarred from what he experienced. In Canada today, we have all sorts of veterans. We have vets from Bosnia, Serbia, UN Peacekeepers who served in the Suez Crisis in 1954, men and women who risk their lives each day in Afghanistan as they try to maintain peace and order between the opposing factions. And countless others, who have served in even less-known conflicts-- yet still faced danger and possible death or injury on a daily basis. I'm sticking my neck out here-- I'm not about to accept that a vet is only a participant in the 1915-18 or 1939-45 wars. He/she willingly places his/her life on the line, in defense of their country, and never gives a second thought in doing so. Veterans a dying breed? I think not. Unfortunately, as long as there is conflict in this world, we will always have an incoming new crop of veterans to honour, recognize, and sadly, sometimes bury. We must always show our appreciation to all veterans, young and old, for their selfless contributions, in making this world a better place. Because without them-- I shudder to think of the consequences. (Ted Brown can be reached at tbrown@independentfreepress.com)

Ted Brown
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10 Nov 2006
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What is a veteran?