Sunday, May 27, 2007

how not to treat your heroes.

The Victoria Cross is the highest decoration for valor that can be awarded to members of a Commonwealth military. It's pretty much the British equivalent of the Medal of Honor, with the same "above and beyond" type heroic acts needed to qualify for such an award. Like the Medal of Honor, a significant percentage of Victoria Crosses have been awarded posthumously.

One Mr. Tul Bahadur Pun earned a Victoria Cross while in the service of the Gurkha Regiment in Burma on June 23, 1944. After almost all his comrades were wiped out, he seized a Bren Gun and, firing from the hip and running through ankle-deep mud, ignored Japanese fire to storm machine gun positions.

His official citation read: "His outstanding courage and superb gallantry in the face of odds which meant almost certain death were most inspiring and beyond praise."

Now aged 84, Mr. Pun recently applied for immigration to Britain. His application was turned down "because he has no strong ties with the United Kingdom", and because he couldn't prove that his medical condition would mean a better quality of life in Britain instead of Nepal.

Now, if I were in charge of the British immigration service, I'd arrange for a free transport to the UK via the Queen's Flight, a slot in the UK's finest veteran's hospital, and a new passport hand-delivered by whatever bureaucratic lickspittle made the original decision to deny one of the Commonwealth's bona fide war heroes the request to spend his last days in the country for which he risked his life in such exemplary fashion.

It's more than a little appalling that the UK has no problems with the immigration of young Muslims who not only don't want to have ties with the UK, but who actively oppose the culture of their new home land by way of backpack bombs, but that someone with the service record of Mr. Pun is told that he can't live there because he has "no strong ties" to the place. A Victoria Cross, or its American equivalent, is pretty much the most bulletproof evidence of loyalty one can produce.

"The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten." --Calvin Coolidge

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