The day before my sister was born, I saw my father walking towards the door of our family home. He had been serving in Somalia – and his return was unexpected. I started shouting to my mom ‘Dad’s home! Dad’s home’ and she said, ‘Dad’s not here hun’. Sure enough he walked through the door and it was the best surprise.
As a child of two Canadian Armed Forces veterans, I think about these moments of sacrifice and joy often – but especially as we approach Remembrance Day.
My father, Thomas, was a Military Medic and my mother, Dianne, an Airforce Mechanic. We moved from base to base when I was a child, living in cities including Belleville, Dartmouth, Petawawa, Barrie and more. I’ve been lucky to see both the eastern- and western-most parts of Canada through this experience.
During this time, my father served in the Persian Gulf, Somalia, and Bosnia for six to nine months at a time. It wasn’t easy for us, waiting for him at home while he was deployed overseas – and especially when he was unexpectedly called to serve. We’d stay in touch via phone calls – but there was always a delay on the other end.
Remembrance Day for me is about remembering the sacrifices of all of those that have fought for our freedom, those that didn’t make it home to their families and those that did make it back with both visible and invisible injuries.
It’s the time spent apart, care packages, delayed phone calls, and the joy and smiles when they return home. I have enormous pride for both of my parents and how they have served Canada. While military life is not an easy life it was our life, and I wouldn’t change it.
After 30 years in the military as a Chief Warrant Officer, my father retired. He used his experience as a Physician Assistant and a leader, to help create the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants, providing a new level of support in public hospitals – leaving a lasting impact on the Canadian Health Care system. My mother was never sent to serve overseas during my childhood but was able to work at the base as an Airforce Mechanic, while looking after four kids. And after 20 years of service, she was able to retire at the age of 38.
Following in their footsteps, my youngest sister, Megan, recently joined the Canadian Armed Forces with her husband.
This Remembrance Day – and every day - I’m saying thank you to our veterans, to our military families and to all those who serve. We honour the families who made sacrifices and remember those who lost their lives for this beautiful country we get to call home.
Across our network of stores, Walmart Canada donates store space to The Royal Canadian Legion to support their annual poppy campaign. Lest We Forget.