A Canadian Says: 'George W. Bush Is My President, Too'
Last night, my wife and I had dinner at a restaurant in Victoria,
British Columbia, Canada, where we live.
A "bum" approached us, as we were having a smoke outside the
restaurant. "Can you spare a cigarette?" he asked? My wife gave him three. He asked
us what we thought of the horrific disaster that had befallen our friends
and neighbors to the south.
"Since last Tuesday, George W. Bush is my president, too," he said. A
profound statement, indeed.
I weas born in Germany in 1935. When Hitler unleashed World War Two, I
was four years old. When my world collapsed in an unprecedented cataclysm,
I was 10.
That's when I met Americans for the first time. They were young
soldiers, many of whose comrades had died on the battle field. And yet, these
boys showed us, the German civilian population, no hostility whatsoever.
They were kind, especially to children like me.
It was the Marshall Plan that saved my life. It provided for one square
meal a day for the children of people who were America's enemies a scant few
months before. Without that help, I would not be alive today.
I emigrated to Canada in 1957. That was 44 years ago. Today, from my
living room window, I can see the Olympic Mountains in the state of
Washington, a mere 20 miles away. The strait between Canada and the U.S. is part of
the longest undefended border in the world.
Think about that one for a moment: about to six thousand miles of
border between two nations, undefended, no guns, not walls, not barbed wire,
no armed guards. Just friends. Just neighbors.
As I write this, my heart goes out to to families who lost loved ones
in last Tuesday's
horrible terrorist attack. I think back to these young American lads
who showed me so much kindness way back in 1945, and wonder whether one of
their sons or daughters, grandsons or granddaugters died last Tuesday at the
hands of terrorists.
I would like to say to Americans, thank you for being who you are. I
may not always like your politics. I am a journalist and must critize where
criticism is due.
But today, I am, once again, the 10-year-old, who on the first occasion
of meeting Americans, was full of wonder and admiration.
In conclusion, I would like to express my whole-hearted support for the
idea of rebuilding the two towers, taller and better than before.
And in defiance of those who would destroy our way of life, I say: yes,
call them Freedom and Unity, "and let the terrorists figure outr what the
intials stand for."
-- Hubert Beyer