Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tom Tom and the Higway of Heros

I got a GPS for mother's day. It's not something that was every high on my list of must have's but I'll admit it's a pretty nifty gadget.

I don't usually go places that I don't already know how to get to and when I do I'm pretty good at being able to see the map (on Mapquest) and then visualize it when I'm driving. But the GPS has a voice so I won't have to do that anymore. Tom Tom (or shall we say Jane Jane since I chose a woman's voice) will tell me where to go.

So last night I decided to use it while driving to school. I know my way to school but thought it would be fun. I live roughly 40 km from school so I got it all programmed, up on the dash and away I went.

Can we talk about distracting?! I swear I spent more time looking at the GPS than the road. I chose a nifty blue sport coupe to represent my mom mobile. And let me tell you, I look hot in that car (okay - you can't really see me in the car but you have to have vision)
Jane Jane told me when I was speeding. (Actually I turned the voice off, disruptive to my radio listening) but speed gauge in the bottom corner turns red when you speed. (Jane Jane is a bit of a goodie two shoes)

Here's what I found interesting though. My mom had mentioned that her GPS doesn't show the new highway off ramp to get to our house - it tells her to get off at the old one (it did for me too) This off ramp has been open for quite some time now (6 months at least) and my mom has downloaded the most recent maps she could.

On the bottom of the screen it shows you what road your are driving on. I was driving on HWY 401 westbound. On the bottom of my screen it said "Highway of Heroes"

For the uniformed, here's the explanation.

When one of our Canadian soldiers is killed in Afghanistan (or anywhere else our military may be) their bodies are brought back to Canada and they are repatriated at CFB Trenton. Their bodies are then driven roughly 500 km from the base to the coroners office in Toronto along HWY 401. From the base to about Oshawa (where I live) there are smaller towns and such but not a lot to speak up. But once you hit Oshawa and then all the way to downtown Toronto the overpasses are lined with thousands of people paying tribute to our fallen soldiers. They wave flags, they salute, they pray. Fire engines, police and ambulances flash their lights and sirens. And this is how it is each and every time a soldier's body is brought home (far too often I'm afraid) Local news stations go so far as to let you know the approximate times the procession will be passing through major cities on the way so that people can plan to stand on an overpass. It's really a sight to behold and very moving.
So at some point a guy started a petition to have that stretch of highway from Trenton to Toronto renamed the Highway of Heroes. It was quickly passed through and now the highway is lined with signs showing a poppy and saying Highway of Heroes.

I think it's a lovely tribute to our soldiers. I get teary eyed every time I see one of the signs. I don't actually know anyone serving in our military (not first hand anyway - I know people who know people) but I still get very sad and scared for our people out there, so far from home.

Theirs is a truly noble life.

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