So, when the time comes to sidle off this mortal coil, the very least any living being might hope for is a small plaque physically-fixed somewhere on their home planet to mark that they actually existed for a relatively-fleeting moment of its history – and that they meant something to the someone who took the time to mark their memory for posterity.
But what if, sometime in the future, someone else completely unconnected with either party, decides that the very name that being was known by, the essence of their identity, has become offensive to future sensibilities? Will that being’s plaque simply be removed from existence, thus cancelling them forever? Well, that is what has just happened to the dog who was the wartime mascot of the RAF’s famous 617 Squadron – The Dambusters.
Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC, DSO, DFC, the famous leader of that squadron, owned a Labrador whose given name is now considered, nearly eighty years later, to be a ‘racial slur’ – although not apparently by rappers, who still hurl it at each other with gay abandon in their lyrics, or film stars who read it from a script where it is used for ‘authenticity’.
Gibson’s dog was so popular with the rest of the squadron that he was adopted as their mascot. He was allowed in the Officers’ Mess where he had his own drinking bowl, regularly topped up with the beer he enjoyed drinking as much as the airmen. Gibson even took his dog on training flights, and used his name as the codeword to confirm the success of their most famous raid.
So when the dog was unfortunately killed in a road accident, such was the love for him from the squadron members that he was buried on their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire with full honours, and his grave marked with a memorial stone bearing his name.
Of course the poor dog never asked for his name – no being ever chooses their given name at birth. Neither did he know that his identity would become offensive to the sensibilities of the very people who still use it offensively. He just came a’running when called by the only name he recognised as his.
Neither did his owner, or the rest of the squadron. Because they were all around at a time when the word used was simply a colour from a palette. Neither was it considered in any way offensive in this country at that time, otherwise it would never have been used by a leader of the stature of Gibson. That all came years later, after both were dead.
Nevertheless, the RAF has now removed the original memorial stone from the grave and replaced it with one that bears no name whatsoever. Such is the brainwashed lunacy of 21st century cancel-culture.
The ancient Egyptians believed that a being dies twice – once when the life-force leaves the body, and finally with the death of the last person to speak their name.
We must never let Guy Gibson’s dog die for the second time.
If you want to take action on this, there is a petition here