ARCHIVED - National Day of Honour - recognizing the sacrifices

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Article / May 13, 2014 / Project number: 2014-05-13

If something happens to me, you are going to meet a lot of important people. Remind them to focus on the mission, not the casualties,”   those words were spoken by Corporal Jordan Anderson to his wife Amanda before he deployed for the second time to Afghanistan in 2007. Corporal Anderson, a paratrooper with 3rd Battalion, PPCLI, died on 4 July that year, in an improvised explosive device explosion.

Even so, today, the National Day of Honour, was all about recognizing the sacrifice of those fallen, those injured and those loved ones that have just had to keep moving forward, and hopefully providing one more step to the healing. Afghanistan was Canada’s longest mission since the Second World War, and was the first time, in most Canadian’s recent memory that we sent soldiers, airmen and sailors into harm’s way in combat.

Within 3rd Canadian Division, there were parades in Edmonton, Wainwright, Suffield and Calgary, with the entire country observing two minutes of silence at the same time. All of the parades were heavily attended by supportive members of the public, politicians, former members of the military and families of soldiers that lost their lives in the 12 year mission.

We come together to commemorate the service, sacrifice and achievement of our Armed Forces, and to express gratitude, ”  Brigadier General Christian Juneau, 3rd Canadian Division Commander, speaking in Edmonton.

The ceremony, to commemorate the close-out and the mission, provided some closure to some of those still grieving lost loved ones.

It’s a step within the process, allowing us to finally breathe, you feel like you are holding your breath,”  Sherry Clark, mother of Private Joel Wiebe, 3rd Battalion PPCLI, killed on June 20, 2007, the day before his twenty-third birthday.

He always wanted to join the army. As his mother, I wanted him to be happy and he was happy being in the army”   Ms. Clark said.

The importance of family while being in uniform cannot be understated.

In Shilo, Manitoba, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Joudrey, Commander of CFB Shilo said,  “The strong foundation of support…attributed directly to the success of those deployed.” 

Lieutenant Colonel Sean Hackett, Commander, CFB Suffield agrees,  “Much attention has been rightfully directed towards recognition of those Canadian military and civilians who deployed, served, and endured – and their families.” 

Extending past the borders of family, the military is also sustained by the communities that surround their bases.

 “Our serving members receive powerful encouragement from communities across the country,”  Lieutenant Colonel Richard Strickland said to those gathered to watch the parade at CFB Wainwright.

Some of the families and friends of the fallen were comforted by the fact that those they lost felt the work they were doing was important. Even so, dealing with the loss of young, strong lives is never easy, but those in uniform answered the call when it came. And they will answer the call again.

 “The Canadian Armed Forces were ready in 2002 when the government called on us to go into harm’s way to help those who were in the greatest of need. We were ready then, and we are ready now,”  BGen Juneau said.

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