While July 1st has no significant meaning for me, it is THE Canadian holiday, the aptly named "Canada Day", which celebrates the independence of Canada from Great Britain (EDIT: I'm aware that it's not actually celebrating "independence" and is in fact celebrating the British North America act which formed Canada as a whole in 1867. I was parsing words to make a point). As I'm American, my holiday of choice falls three days later on July 4th, Independence Day, which largely celebrates the same thing.
Independence Day is especially important to me as I'm active duty military. For those who aren't regulars around here, I'm in the United States Coast Guard, currently stationed in Puerto Rico. While I don't know much about the Canadian Coast Guard, the US Coast Guard is very much a nautical service. I am sworn to protect and serve the citizens of my country above all else. And that's why Steve Simmon's words on TSN bothered me so much. Watch the video of what he said courtesy of Hockey Wilderness (I strongly suggest following that link and reading Bryan Reynold's take) and follow the jump for more thoughts on the issue.
Steve Simmons Calls Out Brian Burke for Visiting Troops (via buddhafisch)
I find this attitude so incredibly disgusting and insulting. Brian Burke, an American, is visiting the troops of another country on their holiday in a very dangerous area because it means a lot to them. I know several US soldiers stationed in both Afghanistan and Iraq who have met similar celebrities; visits like this are huge moral boosts. To those Canadian troops who met Brian Burke, the GM of the most popular NHL franchise- Canadian or American, this must have meant a lot to them. Sure, it's not Joe Sakic or Wayne Gretzky, but it stills says a lot.
What Steve Simmons says completely demeans both the holiday and the troops. To say that a day when money reigns supreme should come before spending time with soldiers who are risking their lives day in and day out is to quite simply say that the "optics" of the Leafs or hockey is more important than them. Clearly, I'm biased, but Steve Simmons is a goddamn idiot.
Mr. Burke- as someone who serves his country and understands the sacrifices made by others who do the same for theirs, thank you.
Petty Officer Arik Knapp, USCG