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Hierarchy of Death

The Americanization of Canada continues apace. I always felt sorry for US sailors forced to serve aboard ships with names such as the USS Alvin Hunsucker III; named for some long-dead and forgotten hero of the Great Republic. Well, not quite forgotten, I suppose their great grandchildren know who they were and what they did.
Now the Canadian Coastguard has decided to name nine new patrol vessels in honour of members of the uniformed services who have been killed on the job – two soldiers killed in Afghanistan, two Victoria Cross winners, two Mounties, two members of the Coastguard and one fisheries officer. What I wonder is how do they chose who to honour? More than 150 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan. Is it fair to pick out just two? Was their sacrifice greater than the others? Were they somehow braver? One of the soldiers selected is the only woman to be killed in combat. Is a woman's death more important than a man's? That seems a bit sexist. I'm all for doing everything we can to honour those killed, but this ship-naming lark seems like a very slippery slope. 

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