Naja Lingerie From Colombia Combats Industry Control

Building a business is one of the hardest things to do, especially when one is trying to build a business bigger than Victoria’s Secret, who owns 50 percent of the lingerie industry. But, Catalina Girald, founder of Naja Lingerie is setting out to do just that.

Going for Soul Not Sex - changing the lingerie industry one pair at a time : Inside Naja Lingerie by Catalina Girald
Going for Soul Not Sex – changing the lingerie industry one pair at a time : Inside Naja Lingerie by Catalina Girald

Headquartered in Medellin, Colombia, with offices in San Francisco and New York, Catalina found a niche in the already dominated lingerie industry. Having worn Victoria’s Secret for most of her life it was when she became a professional that she started to see that the highly popular brand overly sexualized women. As a business woman, Catalina no longer felt comfortable wearing such lingerie and decided to design her own. “My aim is beyond making high-quality bras and panties. I want to create a lifestyle brand. I see it as the Athleta of what happens in your bedroom and bath.”

Her mission to create an alternative lingerie brand for women has a long journey ahead, but Catalina remains focused. Seeing beyond the needs of women and staying in tune with the digital force of today’s society, Ms. Girald’s small yet powerful brand, Naja Lingerie is changing the game in more ways than one. With quotes printed inside each of the panties, designed to empower women and the brand going completely e commerce, Naja lingerie is for women who want to be radically different. Never forgetting the core of her mission, the company’s Underwear for Hope program donates a percentage of purchases to the Golondrinas Foundation in Medellin, where Girald was born. The foundation teaches impoverished women, skills such as sewing which allows them to support their families. They sew the wash-bags that come with each Naja purchase.

Each collection is inspired by the founder’s travels around the world. From living with nomads in Mongolia to learning about the weaving process in Indonesia and living amongst the Hmong people in Vietnam, Catalina’s 18 month spiritual journey throughout Asia brought ideas and life to Naja lingerie. It wasn’t always that way for Catalina who was once at the top of her career as an attorney over at Skadden Arps, one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. Looking to create something greater, Catalina Girald started attending the acclaimed New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology–literally sneaking off to classes in between meetings at Skadden.  Ultimately, she left Skadden to pursue her MBA at Stanford University where the Colombian born entrepreneur founded one of the first venture-funded fashion sites (MOXSIE) for independent designers which was later acquired.

Catalina Lingerie

Introducing Naja, the inventive online lingerie brand that speaks volumes

Naja, a digitally driven, forward-thinking innovator in the lingerie industry, has officially launched to rave reviews. Naja, billed as the “radically different, thoughtful lingerie brand for smart, courageous and sexy women”, was pioneered by Colombian-born CEO, Catalina Girald. No stranger to the fashion and technology industries, Catalina founded MOXSIE, one of the first venture-funded fashion sites for independent designers which was later sold to Naja is a breath of fresh air in an industry that hasn’t changed appreciably in decades. When asked about the direction of the new firm, Founder Catalina Girald answered, “We celebrate strong women. We’ve done away with fans blowing fake wind into our models’ hair, and old, dated lingerie designs. Our fresh designs, pricing and mission to empower women are challenging the industry, and we’re building the first billion-dollar online lingerie brand for the next generation woman.”

Today, women looking for fashionable bras under $80 [US dollars]  have limited choices, including Victoria’s Secret. However, a growing number of shoppers have expressed dissatisfaction with the mass retailer, citing a lack of innovative designs, low construction quality, and environmental impact amongst their concerns. Naja changes all of that.   The company offers exclusive designs paired with the highest quality of fabrics, placing significant focus on structural changes and better product design. Features reserved almost exclusively for luxury lingerie, such as breathable memory foam cups and ultrasonic sealed straps, are now being brought to consumers at fair prices. Naja uses Peruvian sourced Pima cotton for the softest feel and intelligent fabrics with odor and sweat wicking properties for real women with performance needs, all while remaining health and eco-conscious by using no phthalate materials and water based dyes.

The capsule collection, inspired by Tattoos and Japanese Shunga, consists of a basic line and three groups including “The Secret Lives of Sparrows”, “One Night in Cashmere”, and “Miyoko Loves a Dragon”. The collection is characterized by innovative and surprising prints on the interior of all the bra cups, so that every woman can carry her own little secret. All of the fabrics are exclusively designed for Naja by a local San Francisco Tattoo artist and are individually hand printed making each piece slightly unique. In keeping with Catalina’s vision of making great design accessible, the collection is fairly priced with bras ranging from [US dollars ] $45 to $70 and panties ranging from $12 to $22.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Naja is the company’s dedication to changing women’s lives. Through Naja’s Underwear for Hope program, the company donates a percentage of profits to training women in the poorest and most violent areas of the world to sew. Naja then employs them so that they can help themselves and their children. With each purchase of Naja, consumers can feel good knowing that they are contributing to changing a woman’s life.   To learn more about the company’s lingerie, social mission or what sets Naja apart from others in the industry, visit .


Act Now Or Lose African Elephants Forever

Elephants are super smart — as close to humans as apes, yet we are literally killing them to extinction. And they are obsessed with their death. They understand what is happening to them and their families, even identifying elephant bones and spending hours crying over them. Poaching is so emotionally devastating that it can take a herd 20 years to recover!

Legal Elephant Hunting in Mozambique

100 elephants a day are dying — shot sometimes from helicopters, their faces cut off by machetes often while still alive — just to produce ivory trinkets. What’s worse is that this savagery is managed by organized criminals who help fund some of the most dangerous terror groups in the world.

But now there’s reason to hope: China just announced it will phase out its ivory industry and there is legislation in eleven US states calling for a ban on ivory trading. It’s a tipping point moment in this fight for these majestic animals and we can make sure demand everywhere dries up by funding a flood of campaigns in the US, Thailand and Vietnam to kill the biggest ivory markets anywhere.

Elephant hunts are big business and are even organized from outfitters in North America.
Elephant hunts are big business and are even organized from outfitters in North America.

Click here to pledge to fund species-saving work, pledges won’t be processed unless we raise enough to manage this ambitious goal.

Killing elephants is serious business — as wild elephants die out, the price for stockpiles of ivory skyrockets. Now poachers are on a race to kill as many elephants as they can. In 5 years, Mozambique has lost half of their elephant population. The clock is against us and if the current rate of killing continues, in little more than a decade, there may be no wild elephants, only graves.

The news from China could be our best chance to turn the tide and with top notch Avaaz campaigning in 11 states in the US, and in Thailand and Vietnam, we could help stop demand for bloody ivory, while supporting cutting edge anti poaching initiatives on the supply side. Here is what a dedicated global team could do:

  • Fund hard-hitting ad campaigns in SE Asia and the US to dissolve demand for ivory trinkets;
  • Launch online sites in SE Asia and the US to inform consumers of the suffering and carnage to help change the culture towards ivory;
  • Support and ramp up citizen campaigning in the consumer markets in SE Asia and the US;
  • Back ranger protection programmes in Africa and creative, ground-breaking initiatives like drones to monitor remote parks.

Avaaz has millions of members across the world, from the countries where conservation is critical to the countries where ivory statues are sold. If we each chip in we can finally help put the brakes on this cruel trade and move fellow humans to respect the other species that share this planet with us.

Outfitters and elephant hunters justify their hunts as a form of necessary conservation.
Outfitters and elephant hunters justify their hunts as a form of necessary conservation.

The choice before us is simple: act now or lose African elephants forever. Let’s not let ours be the generation that butchered these regal beings off the face of the earth. Let’s do what our community does best — pick careful battles, fight smart to ban the trade, and spread a culture of compassion.

Originally published online Summer 2015.

African elephants could be extinct in wild within decades, experts say (The Guardian)

African forest elephants are being massacred into extinction (Salon)

Wild African elephants on verge of extinction, say experts (Al Jazeera)

At this rate, elephants will be wiped out within 10 years (The Independent)


Click to view on I-tunes
Click to view on I-tunes

Index Rankings Of One Day Cost At Over 300 Beaches Worldwide

Amsterdam, Netherlands,Online travel specialists, TravelBird, have released their annual Beach Price Index, featuring more than 300 seaside locations from 70 countries around the globe. On a year-to-year basis, the price of holiday beaches can change substantially when you take into account factors such as currency fluctuation and inflation. As a company which prides itself on inspiring travelers, TravelBird ranked the beaches in order to provide holidaymakers with the information they need to make a smart decision when booking.

TravelBird first examined an extensive catalogue of the world’s most popular beaches, before reducing this to a final shortlist of just over 300 locations, ranked on the cost of spending a day at each. To calculate their affordability, the price of five essentials were then researched for each destination: the cost of a bottle of sun cream (200 ml), a bottle of water (500 ml), a beer (33 cl bottle), lunch (including drink and dessert for one person), and an ice cream. The sum of these five essentials determined the final affordability ranking of each seaside location. All prices were calculated by standardizing the sizes of products, and with monetary transactions true to exchange rates on 1st June 2017.

Steve Klooster

“It is very interesting for travelers who are planning their trip to see how much the price of spending a day at the beach varies across the world. There are many useful tips in here. One to easily forget, currency fluctuations can make a big difference in the actual cost of your holiday, so keep those in mind. For example, beaches in the UK have become almost 10% more affordable for continental European visitors due to the decline of the pound after the Brexit referendum.” Said TravelBird CEO Steven Klooster. “Also, if you are keen on enjoying local food on the beach, pick Vietnam for instance, where you can enjoy delicious local food on the beach that is very affordable. Another one: in some places you pay a lot for sunscreen, up to 3 times more than you would pay in The Netherlands, so make sure you take some with you!“

The study reveals the 10 most expensive beaches are:









Total (USD)


Kristiansand Beach









Huk Beach


















Mareto Plage Publique

French Polynesia








La Plage de Maui

French Polynesia


























Ribersborg Beach









Anse Vata

New Caledonia








Anse Georgette








Most expensive beach according to study- Kristiansand Beach, Norway. image:

In contrast, the study reveals the 10 most affordable beaches are:









Total (USD)


Cua Dai Beach









City Beach









Long Beach









Marsa Nayzak









Sunken City









Varkala Beach









Benaulim Beach









Palolem Beach









Cavelossim Beach









Sharm El-Naga Bay








Most affordable beach according to study- Cua Dai Beach, Vietnam. image:

Click here for the full results:

4 Canadian beaches appear in the Index, with the following results:









Total (USD)


Grand Beach









Brady’s Beach

British Columbia








Wasaga Beach









Parlee Beach

New Brunswick







Grand Beach, Manitoba. image:

Other findings from the study include:

Sun cream is most expensive when bought from beaches in The Seychelles, costing $26.63 for a 200ml bottle. In comparison, Cua Dai Beach in Vietnam has the world’s least expensive sun cream, costing just $1.95 per bottle.

The seaside location with the most expensive bottle of water is Huk Beach in Norway, costing $2.97 for a 500ml bottle. The beach with the least expensive bottle of water is Sunken City in Egypt, where the same sized bottle costs just $0.20.

The beach with the most expensive beer globally is Huk Beach in Norway, where a 33cl bottle costs $8.83. In contrast, Soma Bay in Egypt is the seaside destination with the least expensive beer, available for just $0.63.

Norway’s Huk Beach also has the world’s most expensive ice creams, at $5.09 each. Egypt’s El Gouna is the beach with the least expensive ice creams in the world, costing just $0.52.

West Palm Beach in the American state of Florida has the world’s most expensive seaside lunch, costing $28.61 for one person. Egypt’s El Gouna is the beach with the most affordable lunches, available for just $5.63.

About our friends at TravelBird: TravelBird is an online travel company offering a curated collection of holiday and travel experiences – from short inspirational breaks to international get-aways. TravelBird’s passionate local travel advisors work directly with tour operators across the world to offer a selection of travel experiences that invite travellers to discover something new and immerse themselves in different cultures. For more information, please visit:


The study has 310 of the most visited beaches in 70 countries based on local tourism board numbers and data from the UNWTO.  

Total Price = $ Sunscreen + $ Water + $ Beer + $ Ice-cream +$ Lunch

Sunscreen costs calculated by taking an average cost from a store in local resort/hotel, a hostel and local pharmacy or supermarket (all where available). We searched for SPF 30, 200 ml.

Lunch costs calculated by taking full meal cost, including a drink and dessert, for one person from a walking distance of maximum 10 minutes from the beach or the closest establishments to it (largely within tourist areas), outlets include hotels and restaurants.

Beer costs were calculated by taking an average of the biggest local beer brand along with the retail cost of Heineken, Budweiser, Becks, Guinness and Fosters at local prices, where available. Where sizes were not available, calculations were undertaken to make serving sizes equal.

Water calculations were found by taking the three largest local brands and calculating an average of these.

Ice-cream costs calculated by taking an average prepackaged branded ice-cream price in the capital city of each country and applying consumer produce cost differences to each area, where applicable.  For the Silo, Ricky Sutton.

Featured image- Wasaga Beach, Ontario courtesy of

Reader Letter To The Silo Regarding Motion 103 And Hamilton Protest Rally

Dear Silo, there was a protest rally held at City Hall in Hamilton this past weekend. The purpose was to discuss or protest “Motion-103 “the motion put forth by one Ms. Iqra Khalid to stop as she sees it “Islamophobia.” For many the idea of “M-103” seems almost redundant as hate speech and any sort of hate crime based on religion is already under the “Criminal Code, The Charter of Human Rights & The Constitution.” Some have opined that Ms. Khalid is grandstanding & perhaps they may be correct.

The protest was as it went peaceful & low key. The police presence was minimal and well placed. Directly on site there were six uniforms, but a bit further back there were two mounted units, and further back out of sight behind city hall were three more mounted units.

The speaker at this event was a Muslim woman who was well spoken and exhorted the crowd with slogans, chants & political sayings, touting the Liberal regime and downplaying the Conservative aspect.It was my understanding that there would be both aspects of this motion represented at the protest, but for the near 3 hours I was present I only heard one side of the story [but] perhaps another side spoke later. I saw on the 6:00 pm news, things turned a bit ugly, and the police stepped in to quell any further incident, so who knows.

For many, it seemed a “ family event,” and I saw a few children there, [but] in my humble opinion [this] is no place for kids. In the “ Vietnam” years when the protest was clearly in many cases, a daily event, there never were any children present, mostly due to the fact protests can at any given time turn from something sedate to an angry, ugly mess, ergo no kids. I for one seriously have to ponder the parental abilities of such an action.

There was a few tables set up, all proffering their political views, the Communist Party, ( the mainstay at any protest), a painting table where you could add your hand to a large almost like paint-by-numbers setup where you could if so inclined could add your hand to it. There was a Muslim table set up and two young men who would engage you in conversation about their faith and handed out books & pamphlets, one of them at the time I stopped by, was engaged in a somewhat intense conversation with a Christian young man. Several people were working the crowd by handing out flyers, pamphlets and flash cards with their message on it. The “ Socialist group”, ever present at any event, was handing out small flyers promoting  worker solidarity,” the Marxist group was there too, handing out flyers to combat racism, the “ No Borders Manifesto,” an 18 point small booklet promoting a “ grassroots movement “ to promote the movement to the “ new world.” There were “ Stop the War Coalition,” the “ Know your Rights,” group & “ Hamilton Against Fascism,” and regarding [this]protest it seemed a well-rounded outpouring that way.

As I said, as protests go it was for the 3 hours I was there a peaceful, almost fun event. Later after things went south and everyone had done their barking and bitching sessions, they packed up their wares, printed material and children, and went home to read the tea leaves of the event and to generally pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

Protests are an integral part of the Canadian fabric and should be allowed at all times. The message I received from this one was that the potential for “ free speech,“ could be quashed possibly if this motion is put into a bill and becomes law. Do we have concern?? Perhaps as many feel we do, and it becomes the responsibility of all of us, to be open-minded, observant of what our government says and does. It falls to us to yes question what they tell us so that democracy as we live it will be ongoing and ever present so that we may all move forward with a proper sense of things for all who live and come to this great country we know it.


James R. Charlton

Why Pearls Keep Soaring In Popularity And In Price

While diamonds used to be a girl’s best friend, pearls may now be the wiser purchase because we are in the middle of a Pearl Renaissance  and everyone from Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Ellen DeGeneres, Kris Jenner, and Angelina Jolie to Rihanna and Keira Knightly are sporting the pearl look. 
Scarlett Johansson and pearls.
Scarlett Johansson and pearls.
While pearls are soaring in popularity, so is their price. You should buy them now, as they show no signs of slowing down, experts say. “It’s the perfect storm for pearl prices, and it’s happening right now,” says Leon Rbibo, President of The Pearl Source, an online retailer doing $10 million annually in pearl jewelry sales.
But why? Rbibo points to the following:
1) Escalations in the South China Sea – Some of the world’s most valuable and high quality pearls come from this region, and unfortunately things are very tense there. The main players – China, the Philippines, the U.S., Vietnam and Malaysia – have conflicting views on to whom that territory belongs, and that equals bad news for trade/importing.
2) The Environment – Natural, high quality pearls are becoming scarcer on the market. Oceans that are growing increasingly acidic are making it very difficult to cultivate high quality gemstones. Put simply, oyster/pearl farms aren’t producing what they used to, putting a premium on the good stuff.
One of the world's most expensive pearls- The Pearl of Lao Tzu also known as the pearl of Allah.
One of the world’s most expensive pearls- The Pearl of Lao Tzu also known as the pearl of Allah.
3) Demand – The gemstone has never been more popular in the fashion world. Celebrities are using pearls to build new, edgier looks using different colors and shades: white, black, pink, peach, green, gold and peacock.
For the Silo, Susan Mackasey.
Did you know? Pearls take from 2-4 years to grow.
Did you know? Pearls take from 2-4 years to grow.

WW2 Graphic Novel KATUSHA goes daily in free WEBCOMIC debut

Katusha Relaunch 2015

Garth Ennis: “Wayne Vansant has done a magnificent job with these first two volumes of Katusha.”
Wayne Vansant’s epic war story KATUSHA, GIRL SOLDIER OF THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR is being made available to read for free at  KATUSHA  (according to, Katusha is a dimunitive form of Russian Ekaterina and Yekaterina, meaning “little pure one”. Katusha is also a famed Russian war song written shortly before World War II)  tells the story of a farm girl from Ukraine who becomes a Red Army tank commander during World War II.A coming-of-age story told against the backdrop of the bloodiest conflict in human history, the 1941-1945 Eastern Front between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, KATUSHA is created by writer/artist Wayne Vansant (Marvel’s THE NAM, Zenith’s Graphic Histories series).  Inspired by the experiences of thousands of women who served in the Red Army as pilots, snipers, tank drivers, and other roles, it forms a sprawling epic that will total three volumes and over five-hundred pages upon completion.
Katusha Relaunch
The first two graphic novels in the series, KATUSHA BOOK ONE: EDGE OF DARKNESS and KATUSHA BOOK TWO: THE SHAKING OF THE EARTH are currently available in digital and print format from Grand Design Publishing.  The webcomic version of KATUSHA will serialize both, adding a new page every day, with BOOK ONE completing in June and BOOK TWO completing at the end of 2015.  The third and final volume, expected in print in mid-2015, will begin serialization in January 2016.
One of Vansant's previous works, The 'Nam was an innovative and truly seminal comic.
One of Vansant’s previous works, The ‘Nam was an innovative and truly seminal comic.
KATUSHA has received praise from critics and comics professionals. History magazine Armchair General Magazine included KATUSHA in its “Stuff We Like” column.  Pat Mills, writer of the legendary British war comics series CHARLIE’S WAR has praised Katusha for dealing with a chapter in history that’s been overlooked in the West.  Garth Ennis, writer of PREACHER and WAR STORIES (which includes THE NIGHT WITCHES, a story about Soviet women pilots) said of Katusha, “It’s great to see the story of the Soviet women tankers kept alive. Wayne Vansant has done a magnificent job with these first two volumes of Katusha; I look forward to reading more”. Print editions are now available from, and other online retailers. Ebook editions are available to consumers through ComicsPlus, Google Play, Kindle, and (soon) Comixology, and to libraries though Overdrive and iVerse.
Wayne Vansant and a blowup of his new work-in-progress: Katusha
Wayne Vansant and a blowup of his new work-in-progress: Katusha

KATUSHA BOOK ONE opens with young Katusha’s graduation from her tenth and final year of school. The next morning, Sunday June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany invades the Soviet Union. The young woman and her family escape to the forests to begin a partisan war against the German occupiers. In KATUSHA BOOK TWO, Katusha and her sister Milla join the Red Army and are sent to tank school. Trained to operate the mighty T-34, Katusha fights from countryside to cities and learns the steep price to pay for victory.

Vansant has chronicled history in comics format since 1986.  He was the primary artist for Marvel’s acclaimed Vietnam War title, THE ‘NAM, and he has recently returned to historical fiction with his three-volume series KATUSHA, an epic of the eastern front of World War II.  He has researched, written, and illustrated many non-fiction graphic novels on subjects including the Korean War, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, and the Battle of Antietam. Since 2013 Vansant has released six non-fiction graphic novels through Zenith Publishing.  Vansant is a native of Georgia and served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War era.

Wayne Vansant Katusha

Eggsactly what is wrong with Canada’s imminent membership in Trans-Pacific Partnership?

“For the Canadian government, the TPP offers cover for major reforms to supply management, the combination of tariffs, quotas and price supports that increase costs for dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey and broiler hatching eggs. The system has been politically untouchable for decades, but using a backdoor approach of mandating change through trade agreement might provide the mechanism to garner the necessary popular support.” University of Ottawa researcher Michael Geist image:20thCenturyFox

Egg and dairy farmers take note…..If you haven’t heard about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (aka TPP) you’re not alone. This major, multinational trade agreement, conducted in private closed-door meetings had already voted on several key issues even before President Obama invited Canada to join this spring.

The TPP now includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chili, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore , Vietnam, Mexico and now Canada. Some economists have argued that since Canada already has free trade agreements with 4/10 of the TPP members we are not likely to see much ‘return on our buck’.

So the question then: Why has our Federal government shown so much interest? Is there a chance that by signing on to TPP, Canada could use the agreement conditions to make sweeping regulator changes in our country? And if the media reports circulating are to be believed (enter “Canada joins TPP” into your fave search engine) it seems inevitable that Stephen Harper’s government will soon announce Canada’s membership.

Law Professor Michael Geist

This from an online  feature by University of Ottawa researcher Michael Geist :
“With Canada already surrendering negotiation leverage and few important markets at stake, our participation is less about other TPP countries and much more about us. Business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded Canada’s entry into the TPP, ( expressing the hope that it would force further changes to Canadian intellectual property laws less than 24 hours after Bill C-11 passed in the House of Commons.

[From 2011, NDP MP Andrew Cash points out concerns regarding Bill C-11 CP]

For the Canadian government, the TPP offers cover for major reforms to supply management, the combination of tariffs, quotas and price supports that increase costs for dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey and broiler hatching eggs. The system has been politically untouchable for decades, but using a backdoor approach of mandating change through trade agreement might provide the mechanism to garner the necessary popular support.

While backers maintain that the TPP will open up new markets to Canadian companies, the reality is that the agreement’s biggest impact is likely to come from major domestic legislative reforms that would otherwise face considerable opposition and serious political risk.”
(–what-s-behind-canada-s-entry-to-the-trans-pacific-partnership-talks )

So, is this a move towards governmental controls and legislative reform? Time will tell but will John and Jane Q Public even notice when it does?  CP


Toby Barrett’s Column: Blackjack 400 Hit by B-40, Down and Burning…

Veterans past and present – a cut above the rest

Blackjack 400 hit by B-40, down and burning, crew still inside slick, eight critical wounded, unknown killed.
Radio Transmission – 22 March, 1969,
Kontum Province, Vietnam


By MPP Toby Barrett

Last week’s newspaper column described the Greatest Generation – those who fought with honour and valour. The very same attributes we now see in our returning Afghan veterans.

I came of age in the Vietnam era and, during two years on the road, had an opportunity to talk to a large number of US soldiers – particularly during my time in Southeast Asia in 1969. What I learned was in stark contrast to my Father’s war stories and my brief stint as a Gunner with the 56th Field Regiment.

Whether in Penang, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, those on R & R (rest and recuperation), from the front lines, told me, “Don’t stand up to get a better shot”. And those behind the lines, the REMF described a cynical war of Washington bureaucracy and fabricated statistics.

Case in point, a first hand detailed account I received in Bangkok of how patrols are done Saigon – fence and secure a park in the city, flood light every square inch and then patrol nightly and report nightly to the number crunchers set up by Secretary of Defence McNamara.

Guys my age I met during Vietnam were either gung-ho, or AWOL, or dragged there kicking and screaming. They carried M-16s but often wished they had AKs. They carried C-4 plastic explosives and burned it to heat their C-rations. And over and over they told the stories they heard of fragging officers – by grenade.

One reason I was in Thailand in 1969 was to continue on to Cambodia. I thank the guys in Bangkok for stopping me, explaining the war had just moved there too – something the US Congress was not to find out until four years later.

This year, I find myself back in the Brantford Armouries – my first parade there since 1963 – in front of 100 active duty and returning soldiers. They knew Afghanistan and we were proud of them that night.
Often, when we think of war our minds immediately conjure sepia images from the past of gun battle from the trenches and firefights

Soldiering in Afghanistan in the 21st century is different from Vietnam in 1969, but nonetheless complex and brutal. In contrast to the leeches and jungle rot of Vietnam, imagine carrying a 70 pound pack or more in combat gear through the 60 Celsius heat of Afghanistan.

It takes a toll as Christie Blatchford describes in her book Fifteen Days: “I had last seen the soldiers in early April. When I caught up with them just three months later, I barely recognized them. They were exhausted and skinny (many sweated off twenty in the heat, some as much as forty), and even if there were only a troubled few with the thousand-yard stare (and usually then just for a short time), most of them obviously had been through the wringer.”

Whether it is the stench of trenches, the bone chilling cold of the North Atlantic, or starvation in POW camps, war is hell for those who put their life on the line for the rest of us. Regardless of where they served, our warriors past and present are a cut above the rest.