Standing Shoulder to Shoulder.
Last weekend I registered for this year’s annual Canadian Walk for Veterans which is going to be held on the weekend of September 24th & 25th. Since I missed last year’s edition, I figured I’d pay for two registrations this year, and so my cousin will be joining me.
A year ago at this time, I was busy writing about the situation facing interpreters in Afghanistan and I would ultimately end up being involved in efforts to try and rescue some of those who were trapped there and in grave danger. It’s something that I continue to work on to this day, and it is an issue that is of significant importance to me to this day.
So I must admit that I got a little emotional when I saw that the goal of this year’s Canadian Walk for Veterans was to “raise awareness of the plight of translators, interpreters, cultural advisors and other locally employed people who were essential to Canada’s missions in conflicts throughout the world such as the Balkans, Somalia, Rwanda and Afghanistan.”. In addition, a major portion of this year’s net proceeds will be allocated to the True Patriot Love Afghan Resettlement Fund.
There will be Walks held in a number of locations across the country again this year, though you can always participate virtually if there isn’t one in your community. Visit the website for all the details, or check out the Canadian Walk for Veterans Facebook page.
Shemaghs of Solidarity
Last year a veteran by the name of Dave Morrow decided to show support for Afghan interpreters by starting something he called “Shemaghs of Solidarity”. Also known as a “keffiyeh”, a shemagh is a type of scarf that is used as a means of protecting one’s face and neck from sun, wind, and sand and is commonly worn in the Middle East and Central Asia. They can be found for sale online or at your nearest army surplus store for around $20, which is what I paid for one last year from a surplus store. If you’re wondering how they are worn like I was then, there are a number of helpful videos to be found on YouTube that will show you.
I have worn it as often as possible in the time that I’ve had it, to serve as a reminder to me that there are still people over there who are in need of help. It has also proven to be another way of raising awareness as I have received a number of compliments on my “scarf”. This will often lead to a discussion about what it is and what it represents, thus providing an excellent opportunity to spread the word about what is going on, so I plan on wearing it on this year’s walk.
You are NOT required to wear a shemagh in order to participate in the Walk, however, if you do have an extra $20 to spare it’s an awesome way to show
This year’s coin
As in previous Walks, everyone who registers for this year’s will receive a commemorative Challenge Coin made by Drack’s Military Plaques, another outstanding Canadian business that is owned by veterans. I had tears welling up in my eyes as soon as I saw this year’s Challenge Coin, displaying a Canadian soldier standing shoulder to shoulder with an interpreter, and the words Leave No One Behind on the other side.
For anyone who pays the $25 registration fee before September 10th, you will receive your coin at the event. For those registering after September 10th, or who will be participating virtually, you will receive your coin via mail.
This year I will be in Calgary, where the Walk takes place on Saturday, September 24th, along the South Glenmore Park Pathway, 8414 24th St. SW. Registration starts at 9AM with the walk starting at 9:30AM and ending at 12:30PM. I’m hoping to be able to see some of my fellow Calgarians out there.