Friday, August 8, 2008

Ask And It Shall Be Granted To You

Back in June of this year I posted at The Flight Deck as to how the death of Percy Dwight Wilson on May 9th at age 106 resulted in there now only being surviving Canadian veteran from that war. And I noted that although many Canadians felt that when John Babcock dies, he should be given a state funeral, he disagreed. Mr. Babcock, who has been an American citizen for the past 60 years and who currently resides in the United States, stated that he didn’t want a state funeral in Canada.

At the time, I noted that I wasn't quite sure what to make of that. But I discovered some interesting news today. First, Mr. Babcock's reasoning for not wanting a state funeral.
Q: There had been talk of a state funeral for the last veteran when that time comes. What are your thoughts on that?
A: Well, I became a naturalized citizen of the United States so I think that should go to a Canadian.
Q: [Dorothy] The last Canadian is dead.
A: Well, I suppose if they don't have anybody else, they can choose me. [Laughs] So who else is around? I am the last one?
Q: You're like the dodo bird, sir. There was some thought that when the last Canadian veteran passes they should celebrate all of the soldiers of that time. Is that a good idea?
A: I think they should commemorate all of them, instead of just one.
And even more interesting, the fact that Mr. Babcock, who lost his status as a British subject - the precursor to Canadian citizenship - when he obtained his US citizenship in 1946, has requested and received the return of his Canadian citizenship after expressing his long-standing wish in this regard when he was presented with a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation in April, 2008.

On May 9, 2008, Mr. Babcock was granted his Canadian citizenship. Thank you for your service, sir. And it's good to have you back in the fold.

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