Day by Day

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Canada Honors Draft Dodgers with Monument

Most countries build national monuments to honor their own extraordinary citizens and accomplishments. Apparently, Canada has found other uses for them.

Canada Plans Draft-Dodger Monument
Tuesday, September 21, 2004

NELSON, British Columbia — After burning their draft cards during the Vietnam War, tens of thousands of Americans avoided jail by fleeing to Canada.

Many settled in the small town of Nelson, British Columbia (search), just across the Washington state border. Now, 30 years later, the mayor of Nelson and some other Canadians are planning to honor the draft dodgers with a two-day festival and a larger-than-life monument depicting a Canadian helping two scared American men.

Though the festival and statue unveiling are still two years away, the war of words is just beginning.

Veterans of Foreign Wars (search) leaders are outraged by the monument, as are others in the United States who see the plan as a slap in the face. Some have written to Nelson officials to say they’ll never visit the town again.

The Canadian government did nothing to discourage Americans from heading north of the border so many years ago. In fact, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (search) rolled out the red carpet, saying the draft dodgers had his complete sympathy.

Think about it. America has a gigantic wall honoring Americans who fought and died in Vietnam. Canada will soon have a monument honoring Americans who fled the country. How big of an inferiority complex do you have to have to build a national monument that doesn't honor your own citizens, but jeers at a neighboring country instead? How fucking sick is this?

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