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Project Hero

Recently, my university here in Regina, SK has come under a lot of fire regarding the initialization of Project Hero. Project Hero provides financial funding and support to the dependents of soldiers who have lost their lives in active duty. The program will wave tuition to the dependents as well as provide $1000 a year so long as they remain full time students, under the age of 26, and preserve a 75% average each semester.

16 professors from the University of Regina have voiced their opposition to this program calling it “a glorification of Canadian imperialism in Afghanistan” in an open letter. J. Webber, one of the professors who drafted the letter clarified by saying that the name “Project Hero” implies that Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan is considered “heroic” which the 16 professors disagree with.

While I do see the point that glorification of war is a dangerous cultural activity to take part in, this open letter still seems incredible disrespectful to those serving in our armed forces. The program is not designed to boost support for this particular war we are in. The program makes no mention of Afghanistan or any one war. Rather, it is a social safety net for the families of soldiers. Similar to a life insurance policy that a company may give it’s employees and their families, our country is trying to ensure that the families of fallen soldiers will not suffer more than the deep pain of losing a loved one. The debate for whether we should be in Afghanistan may never truly be resolved but that is by no means grounds to say that the soldiers, who were not consulted before going to a foreign land, can not be heroes. Whether you agree with the high command or not, the soldiers have no choice. They must follow the orders given to them. It is a brave thing to live in an area where you could die at any minute and if a soldier were to die trying to protect me, my country, or any of it’s citizens, no matter whether or not the government should have placed that soldier there in the first place, he or she is still a hero to me.

The professors opposed to this project seem to be thinking far too short term. From what I gathered, I do not believe this project will end when we leave Afghanistan. There will be other conflicts. Whether glorified or not, war is currently inevitable. It seems to me these professors are trying to tell us what heroism is which I find insulting.

It saddens me to think that these broken families should not only suffer the loss of a loved one but also the fear that a child may not be able to receive higher education. With the growing costs of tuition, university could quickly become an unachievable dream to many, especially families who have lost a source of income. While I do not wish to view a soldier as mer source of income, they do provide for their families and that should be recognized as well as their serving of our county.

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