Who Is He

He is profane and irreverent,
living as he does in a world full of
capriciousness, frustration and disillusionment.
He is perhaps the best-educated of his kind in history,
but will rarely accord respect on the basis of mere degrees or titles.

He speaks his own dialect, often incomprehensible to the layman.
He can be cold, cruel, even brutal and is frequently insensitive.
Killing is his profession and he strives very hard to become even more skilled at it.

His model is the grey, muddy,
hard-eyed slayer who took the untakeable at Vimy Ridge,
endured the unendurable in the Scheldt and held the unholdable at Kapyong.

He is a superlative practical diplomat;
his efforts have brought peace to countless countries around the world.
He is capable of astonishing acts of kindness, warmth and generosity.
He will give you his last sip of water on a parched day and his last food to a hungry child;
he will give his very life for the society he loves.
Danger and horror are his familiars and his sense of humour is accordingly sardonic.
What the unknowing take as callousness is his defence against the unimaginable;
he whistles through a career filled with graveyards.

His ethos is one of self-sacrifice and duty.
He is sinfully proud of himself, of his unit and of his country
and he is unique in that his commitment to his society is Total.
No other trade or profession dreams of demanding such of its members
and none could successfully try.

He loves his family dearly,
sees them all too rarely and as often as not loses them to the demands of his profession.
Loneliness is the price he accepts for the privilege of serving.
He accounts discomfort as routine and the search for personal gain as beneath him;
he has neither understanding of nor patience
for those motivated by self-interest, politics or money.

His loyalty can be absolute, but it must be purchased.
Paradoxically, the only coin accepted for that payment is also loyalty.
He devours life with big bites, knowing that each bite might be his last
and his manners suffer thereby. He would rather die regretting the things
he did than the ones he dared not try. He earns a good wage by most
standards and, given the demands on him, is woefully underpaid.

He can be arrogant, thoughtless and conceited, but will spend himself,
sacrifice everything for total strangers in places he cannot even pronounce.
He considers political correctness a podium for self-righteous fools,
but will die fighting for the rights of anyone he respects or pities.

He is a philosopher and a drudge,
an assassin and a philanthropist, a servant and a leader, a disputer and a mediator,
a Nobel Laureate peacekeeper and the Queen's Hitman, a brawler and a healer,
best friend and worst enemy. He is a rock, a goat, a fool, a sage, a drunk, a
provider, a cynic and a romantic dreamer. Above it all, he is a hero for our time.

You, pale stranger, sleep well at night only because he exists for you,
the citizen who has never met him, has perhaps never thought of him
and may even despise him.
He is both your child and your guardian. His devotion to you is unwavering.

He is a Canadian Soldier.