There are times in this writing business when it is difficult to adhere to the writ that accuracy must prevail.
Presenting facts is important, for only then can you back up an argument, but ensuring those “facts” are in fact accurate causes much mental tremor.
For instance, driving back from Vancouver on Sunday I caught, at the last second, out of the corner of my eye a big new sign proclaiming the route the Highway of Heroes.
When the designation was announced recently, I thought it a good and worthy honour to those who serve our country, whether at home or abroad.
The men and women who go into harm’s way to protect and support our way of life, who give their lives to bring freedom and peace to nations torn apart by terrorism, fascism, religious fervor, and racial genocide have earned our recognition and appreciation.
Those who oppose war may not agree with the ‘glorification’ of conflict, but no one should condemn the valour of soldiers, sailors and airmen who, at their nation’s behest, go forth to try to make the world a better place.
And it is with that premise that these young men and women deserve to be recognized.
Those engaged in combat do not create the conflicts; that is done by leadership – by one or many – who rarely, if ever, actually participate in the battles.
So to designate a short section of highway, from the Port Mann Bridge to Abbotsford, in their honour is most worthy.
Even more appropriate would be, by federal government decree, extension of that designation to the full route of the Trans Canada Highway.
The Highway of Heroes, from sea to shining sea.
We owe those who gave their lives no less.
However, in putting up signs declaring our respect and gratitude for those who have given so much, care must be taken.
And that brings me back to my accuracy reference above.
As noted, I only caught a fleeting glance of the sign as I barrelled past at well in excess of 100 km/h. But my critical eye registered what I perceived to be an anomaly in that microsecond.
Prominent in the corner of the sign was a declaration to “3rd C.A.V.”.
Horror of horrors I thought – the sign displays a huge and unacceptable error.
My first impression was that the declaration should read “3rd Cav.” or even “3rd CAV” without the dots between letters because “Cav” is also short for Cavalry, the soldiers who in this day and age drive tanks and other armoured vehicles instead of horses.
Accuracy, for columnists, and sign painters alike is important, thus I was compelled to determine who was wrong.
And I discovered, thanks to Google, that there truly is a 3rd C.A.V., and it refers to a B.C. division of the Canadian Army Veteran’s motorcycle unit – a group who participated in the launch of the new highway designation, and who through their own contributions, are more than worthy of name recognition on our Highway of Heroes.
For your past deeds, and for keeping alive the memory of those who give and gave so much . . . thank you.
I will, whenever I drive the route, honour your contribution and those of every other Canadian hero.
And with this column, I suggest our Member of Parliament press the federal government to extend this honour the full length of Highway 1.