Monday, November 13, 2006

More thoughts surrounding Remembrance Day

I saw "The Longest Day" again on TV, and I was amazed at the number of stars in it. It included Jeffery Hunter, who portrayed Christopher Pike in Star Trek, the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise before Kirk. This led my train of thought about D-Day to the fact that one of the brave heros who stormed Juno Beach that day was Captain James Montgomery Doohan, who would later be known to most of the world as Scotty, the best engineer of the best ship in Starfleet. So, I did a bit of research...

From Wikipedia:

"His first combat assignment was the invasion of Normandy at Juno Beach on D-Day. Shooting two snipers along the way, Doohan led his unit to higher ground through a field of anti-tank mines and took defensive positions for the night. Crossing between command posts at 11:30 that night, Doohan took six hits from a Bren gun fired by a nervous sentry: four in his leg, one in the chest, and one through his right middle finger. The chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case, and the shot finger was amputated (during his later screen acting career he would generally conceal this).

Despite his wounds, Doohan remained in the military, trained as a pilot and flew an artillery observation plane. He flew Taylorcraft Auster Mark V aircraft for 666 (AOP) Squadron, RCAF, as a Royal Canadian Artillery officer in a flying role in support of #1 Canadian AGRA (Army Groups Royal Artillery). All three Canadian (AOP) RCAF Squadrons were manned by Artillery Officer-pilots and 'aircrewed' by Artillery personnel serving as observers. Though never actually a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, he was once labeled the "craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Forces"."

At one point I was looking how to recommend Mr. Doohan for the Order of Canada, but it turns out that you cannot be made a member after you have died, although if you have been named to the Order, but not invested in it, it can be done so posthumously. There should be a way to honour him, as he was a great Canadian, and most people in Canada don't know him as a Canadian.

Another thing that I found interesting is that so many people were inspired by his character, Scotty, and went into Engineering. In fact, one year, more than half of the people in engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) said that they had gone into that program because they wanted to be like Scotty. In 1993, the school gave him an honorary engineering degree!

"In fact, science fiction - especially Star Trek - generated so much interest in engineering amongst young people in the United States, that in 1993 MSOE presented an honorary degree to James Doohan, who portrayed "Scotty" in the original Star Trek series." - MSOE NEWS SERVICES

In fact, a lot could be made out of Mr. Doohan's life for both it's inspiration of people to go into engineering, and for the fact that like a lot of young people today who have served in both the Canadian and American armed forces, that they can then go on after their service and become an inspiration to millions of people, even after being wounded, and disfigured.

William Shatner can't same the same.


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