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LETTER: Citizenship — patriotism or opportunity and benefits?

- Reuters

Once again I am driven to pick up my pen and enlighten your readers on the above captioned. Andrew Scheer having dual citizenship really has less to do with patriotism and pledging allegiance and more to do with opportunity and benefits.

However, again it is being used as a political football to advance an opponent’s goals and objectives.

Scheer had dual citizenship. His American citizenship was given to him by his parents as a gift that was handed down. They most likely earned it for him and he is entitled to it.

When our children were born here in St. John’s, I registered them with the American consulate on Kingsbridge Road.

They were babies at the time. I had no idea if it would ever be of any benefit to them.

In 1964, at 19 years of age, I obtained a student exemption to finish my technical schooling — I had been drafted to serve my country. It was a mandatory obligation.

It was a painful and emotional rite of passage.

After graduation I was then obligated to pick up my duty. I was sent to Construction Battalion (SeaBee) school in Davisville, Rhode Island. The purpose: to be trained as a combat electrician for service in Vietnam.

We were advised that it was most certainly our destination and fate and we should consider getting our personal affairs in order (just in case). It was the first time in my life I had to seriously consider death and the consequences related to it.

It was also a very difficult and emotional time: anti-war protests, racial riots, Kennedy’s Cuba, Kennedy’s death, four students shot at Kent state, even more injured.

And then, awhile later, the deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

While fate and performance in school led to me being selected to be reassigned to Argentia, I am nevertheless still considered a Vietnam veteran for opportunities and benefits purposes.

These benefits can range from educational to medical opportunities and benefits.

I have the wonderful choice to live and work in any one of 50 states or 10 provinces.

We — me and Andrew Sheer’s parents — were not just “given” their citizenship, we earned it!

We put our lives on the line. It wasn't voluntary, it was demanded! A duty.

You would be jailed otherwise (Muhammad Ali, for example).

You would find it very difficult to find a job without having completed your military obligation. At 19 this was a traumatic event in a young person’s life.

Many years later my daughter marries a fine young man from Canada, and may I say they both have served in the Canadian Forces.

When he got out of the service he decided to take a technical course and was hired after graduation by an oil company and transferred to the States.

He had a pile of papers to complete. However, because my daughter was an American citizen that pile shrank to a few papers and a green card was efficiently obtained.

That green card then went on to become an American citizenship. Why? Because if you retire back in Canada (which they plan to do) you cannot get your Social Security (CPP) if you are not a citizen.

If you have worked 20 years paying into a pension system that is not voluntary should you not be entitled to benefit from it?

As Sheer stated, militarily, tax-wise, even banking accounts and who knows what is mutually shared between the two governments.

We share NATO, we share NORAD, we shared the Dew Line.

We are welcome in any Legion or Veteran of Foreign Wars Posts in Canada for Americans and in the States for Canadians.

We are brothers in arms and in life.

25,000 Americans married Newfoundland girls — a lot for the small population.

We can live anywhere in North America but we not only chose Canada, we chose Newfoundland. Newfoundlanders have more people in the Armed Forces, per capita, than any other province.

We serve with honour and courage. We served with pride and proudly.

Why should we give up what we are entitled to and rightfully earned?

R.A. Mease,
Conception Bay South


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