Americans, Canadians: comrades in arms

I stumbled across an article that, given the current state of trade tensions between the United States and Canada, piqued my interest more than it would have normally.

Moreover, the article speaks quite cogently to a point that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made about how Canadians and Americans have died on battlefields together while fighting a common enemy; thus, the “national security threat” accusation leveled by Donald J. Trump seems all the more preposterous.

The article appears in “Vietnam,” a magazine I’ve been reading for the past few years. It’s titled “Oh, Canadians,” is written by Canadian historian Bob Gordon and it tells the story of how Canadians came to the United States to join the fight against the communists during the Vietnam War. Yes, it recalls how thousands of Americans fled to Canada to avoid being inducted into the armed forces during that terrible time of division, but it speaks as well to the sacrifice that many Canadians made because they wanted to get into the fight.

One of them, U.S. Army Sgt. Peter Lemon, in 1970 earned the Medal of Honor for his heroic service in defense of the United States of America.

The Canadian government remained officially neutral during the war. Many of its citizens were not nearly so reticent. They felt called to duty to aid their comrades in arms across the common border the nations share.

They have erected a memorial in Windsor, Ontario — The North Wall — to honor the Canadians who were killed or who are missing in action from the Vietnam War.

I mention this article today because of the stupidity of the notion expressed by Donald Trump that Canada represents a threat to our national security over their trade practices. He has imposed stiff tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, a decision that has alarmed and outraged not just our Canadian allies, but also our trading partners in Europe and Mexico.

Justin Trudeau finds that assertion “insulting” to the memory of those who have paid the ultimate price in defense of the United States of America.

Those who died in Vietnam on behalf of their American neighbors are among those to whom Prime Minister Trudeau is referring.

God bless them all.

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