Canadian Governor General announces the creation of a new military medal

RackMaster

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Found out about this on another site, I think this is a good idea for recognition of the sacrifices that are being made during times of war. With all the recognition that is being made for our troops at war, I think that it is about time that our Gov't officially announces that we are at war and starts treating this seriously at home and abroad. :2c:


Governor General announces the creation of a new military medal

August 29, 2008

OTTAWA –– Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, is pleased to announce that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II approved the creation of the Sacrifice Medal. The medal will be awarded to military personnel, members of allied forces or Canadian civilians working under the authority of the Canadian Forces, who suffered wounds or death caused by hostile action, on or after October 7, 2001.
“Our soldiers deserve our utmost respect and deepest gratitude,” said the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. “This medal recognizes the valued contribution of those who sacrificed their health or their lives while serving Canada.”
Applications will be processed through the usual military chain of command.
An inaugural presentation ceremony will take place at Rideau Hall at a later date.
For the artistic rendering of the Medal created by the Chancellery of Honours, please click on the following site for a small format: http://www.gg.ca/honours/medals/hon04-sm_e.asp or on this link http://www.gg.ca/images/sacrifice_lg.jpg for a large format. For more information on military honours, please see the Department of National Defence Web site for Canadian Forces Honours and Awards:
www.forces.gc.ca/hr/dhr-ddhr
For further information on the Sacrifice Medal and on the creation of new honours, please refer to the attached backgrounders (Annex A and Annex B) or visit www.gg.ca or visit www.forces.gc.ca/hr/dhr-ddhr




Sacrifice Medal


Artistic rendering, creation of the Chancellery of Honours

Background


The Sacrifice Medal was created to recognize a member of the Canadian Forces, a member of an allied force, or a Canadian civilian under the authority of the Canadian Forces who, as of October 7, 2001, died or was wounded under honourable circumstances as a direct result of hostile action.


Applications

A commanding officer will submit an application through the usual military chain of command for eligible members of their unit.
Sacrifice Medal

Description: the Medal consists of a silver circular medal that is 36 mm across, has a claw at the top of it in the form of the Royal Crown, and is attached to a straight slotted bar.

  • On the obverse of the Medal appears a contemporary effigy of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada, facing right, wearing a Canadian diadem composed alternately of maple leaves and snow flakes, and circumscribed with the inscriptions “ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA” and “CANADA”, separated by small maple leaves, and
  • on the reverse of the Medal appears a representation of the statue named “Canada” –that forms part of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial – facing right, overlooking the horizon. The inscription “SACRIFICE” appears in the lower right half of the Medal.
  • The Medal is suspended from a watered ribbon that is 32 mm in width, consisting of a 10-mm black stripe in the middle that is flanked by 11-mm red stripes, on which are centred 1-mm white stripes.
  • The bar to the Medal is in silver with raised edges and shall bear a centred, single silver maple leaf overall. The Medal shall be engraved on the edge with the service number, rank, forename initials and surname of any military recipient or with the forenames and surname of any civilian recipient.
Wearing: The Medal shall be worn following the Royal Victorian Medal (R.V.M.), in the order of precedence in the Canadian Honours System. For more information on the wearing of orders, decorations and medals, click here.
Related Information

For more information, please see the Department of National Defence Web site for Canadian Forces Honours and Awards: http://www.forces.gc.ca/hr/dhr-ddhr/eng/home_e.asp
 

RackMaster

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A bit of an update, there's been some controversy around this and something that I fully support. There is a petition for all those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country to receive this medal.


Hero worthy of medal

But strict rules keep soldier who died in Afghanistan from honour
By JOE WARMINGTON
Last Updated: 16th September 2008, 7:57am


On patrol in deadly Afghani stan, Master Cpl. Jeffrey Scott Walsh made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Now will his country honour him with highest medal given for sacrifice?
Not so far. So count me in with those going to bat to see to it that this specific case be given a second look and that this fine Regina native be given the new Sacrifice Medal, which was announced last month by the governor general.
"The Sacrifice Medal was created to recognize a member of the Canadian Forces, a member of an allied force, or a Canadian civilian under the authority of the Canadian Forces who, as of Oct. 7, 2001, died or was wounded under honourable circumstances as a direct result of hostile action," is the explanation on the GG's website.
So far Walsh, who earned three other Afghanistan medals, has been determined undeserving -- despite the unusual circumstances of his death.
If ever a case should be looked at for reconsideration, it's this one, because doing so could very well provide clarity as to what Canada defines as sacrifice.
In this instance it has been deemed that because he died while on patrol in a vehicle on Aug. 9, 2006, near Kandahar as a result of gunfire from a fellow Canadian soldier's weapon, he was not killed in combat and is ineligible for Canada's new Sacrifice Medal.
FAMILY UPSET
It does not sit well with Walsh's family -- specifically his 61-year-old father, Ben, a retired Mountie. "My son, and 96 other soldiers, gave their lives for Canada and in my opinion they are all deserving of the Sacrifice Medal," he said yesterday from his Regina home.
However, in a letter from Andre M. Levesque, director of honours and recognition at the department of national defence, it clearly states that "eligibility for the Sacrifice Medal, as that of the Wound Stripe which it replaces, is limited to those wounds and deaths which are the result of hostile action. As such, all accidents, diseases, natural deaths and other similar instances, even if they occur within a theatre of operations, are not eligible.
"Based on the information we have on file regarding your son, it appears that his tragic death was caused by the accidental discharge of a weapon by one of his colleagues and was not related to enemy action. This new medal, like its predecessor the Wound Stripe and many other similar foreign decorations such as the American Purple Heart, is solely intended to recognize those who die or are wounded in combat."
The big question is did what happened to Walsh, who turned 33 the day before, occur in combat? Or was he subsequently killed in a friendly fire incident?
Either way, according to Marie Paule Thorn at the governor general's residence Rideau Hall, he would be eligible.
STRICT RULES
However, the rules say friendly fire must occur in an incident in which the enemy is firing upon the Canadian soldiers.
It has been determined Walsh was not in clear-cut combat and was killed during an unfortunate accident that occurred while carrying out a patrol.
No matter which way you look at it, he was struck under the armpit from an accidental firing of a rifle and died in theatre.
Fellow soldier Robbie Fraser is facing charges of manslaughter.
The thing is the whole environment there is combat. It's never a quiet drive on a country road and soldiers are always in harm's way.
It's always hostile.
"With these rules it would mean there are 13 soldiers who would not be eligible," Ben Walsh said.
Specifically, with his son's case, there is enough grey area to bestow him this medal.
Please consider if Walsh had been killed by a roadside bomb on that same patrol, he certainly would have been eligible.
So being killed while looking for a roadside bomb, or a Taliban fighter trying to set one during that patrol, should not be any different.
The fact he was shot accidently just magnifies the kind of stress and tension these soldiers were under. It's all part of the same mission. There is not any one kind of sacrifice that should trump another -- and no sacrifice is any more or less worthy.
In this situation there has to be careful consideration since clearly the rifle's safety mechanism was not on and reports indicated there was a finger on the trigger.
These were not Canadian roads. It has to be looked at on the merits of doing patrols in a place where almost 100 Canadians have died.
For example, Jeff Walsh was not killed by an accidental discharge by someone cleaning his gun in a tent on base. That could be looked at differently.
These are not the facts here and this is one of those times where the letter of the law does not always work. There must be exceptions to every rule.
Some 1,200 agree and have signed an online petition, posted by Kitchener's Dan Gray, who feels to overlook Walsh here cheapens his sacrifice. He wants him to be awarded the Sacrifice Medal posthumously and if you agree, you can express that on petitiononline.com/EHDASM/petition.html.
Ben Walsh said, "When you lose your son like that, you lose part of yourself. It's not the medal I am fighting for. It's the point of the thing."
He believes if you die serving your country in a war theatre, in any fashion, you should get that Sacrifice Medal. "And I am hoping her excellency, the governor general, will change this error," he said. "I believe the prime minister can change it too with one phone call."
They certainly should take a second look at his son's unique circumstances since no matter how you slice it, in war-torn Afghanistan, a Canadian father of three did make the ultimate sacrifice.
 

elle

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Thanks for the link G.

The following quote from the petition best expresses my position as well:


Dead is dead no matter who killed him, how dare the gov't put a value on the sort of action that took his life on foreign soil. He was there voluntarily, but rest assured he didn't die by volunteering!
 
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