Highway of Heroes

September 19th, 2007 by Potato

Well, one of the busiest highways in the world has a new name (at least for a section of it). It’s a name befitting a hair metal band.

I don’t really care for the name change, after all, we already have several Veteran’s Highways (the former Airport Rd. in London, and the 416 near Ottawa). And it’s a pretty cheesy name, I don’t know how much it really honours our soldiers (and other domestic heroes). The quotes in the article make little sense to me:

Capt. Mark Bossi, who served in Afghanistan, fought back tears as he rode along the stretch with CTV Toronto.

“That’s amazing — it really is,” Bossi said when he saw one of the signs. “It’s on (Highway) 401 — people are going to see them everyday.”

The signs are in response to an online petition in support of renaming the highway that was overwhelmed with responses.

Bossi understands why the grassroots movement to dedicate the stretch grew so quickly.

“If you think about it, every soldier has a mom and dad,” he said, his voice trembling.

“A lot of guys have wives and children. I think that’s one of the reasons Canadians wanted the highway renamed.”

So seeing the highway renamed made this captain so emotional he had to fight back tears? That makes little sense to me, the highway would probably have to be named after me personally to get that involved in it, and even then… of course, I haven’t suffered unknown amounts of PTSD. The last part of his quote makes even less sense. Every grad student has a mom and dad, and many have wives and children, but that really doesn’t make any sense for a reason to rename a highway. In fact, he seems to imply that the highway was renamed to appease/coddle the survivors of soldiers killed rather than to actually honour the soldiers themselves.

At least it’s not something that’s really going to affect me. For brevity’s sake alone, I think most people will still call it the 401 in everyday usage, similar to how nearly everyone still calls that stadium beneath the CN Tower “Skydome”.

2 Responses to “Highway of Heroes”

  1. Juan Says:

    This, I’m sure is going to be HIGHLY controversial, but since when does getting blown up by a roadside “improvised explosive device” while you’re driving along minding your own business make you a hero? I really wonder how veterans of real wars, like World War II, feel about every single soldier who dies in a conflict these days being declared an instant hero. Obviously you have to respect their sacrifice, to save..err Afghanistan, but they just got blown up. Not blown up saving a fallen comrade, or infiltrating enemy ranks to steal vital information, or even trying to rescue a child from a burning mud hut. Then again, maybe I just don’t know and back in the day every one of the thousands who died at war were all declared heroes and had highways renamed in their memorial. To me this just reeks of American-style, chest thumping patriotism, and you daren’t speak out against it or you’ll be branded and anti-Canadian Islamic terrorist evildoer who tortures people with electric drills and blows up twin towers.

  2. Potato Says:

    That’s a good point — the highway is named because it’s the route the bodies of dead soldiers take after landing from the plane to get back to Toronto for autopsy. It sort of morbidly implies that the heroes have to have died to be called “heroes”. I think it does water down the term “hero” a bit, yes. Not only is it a cheesy name, but it could be opening up an argument a few years down the road to have the “highway of heroes” “repurposed” to honour not just our soldiers, but also our “other heroes” such as politicians, who must every day face the scorn of the public and media whenever they vote themselves a raise…