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Honouring Veterans, Remembering the Fallen

Today, we honour and remember all of the incredible men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace.  We remember the more than 2,300,000 Canadians who have served throughout our nation’s history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice. So as we bow our heads and partake today in a moment of silence to honour those veterans, we are reminded of the incredible stories. Stories of resilience, loss, battle, courage and history. 

At our recent Remembrance ceremony we welcomed in Korean War veteran and member of the Royal Canadian Legion Bill Harrison. He fondly recalls the moment his father came home to announce he was joining the efforts to fight for our country in World War II. “My mother got really upset and she went straight to her mother’s, which wasn’t very far away,” says Harrison. “Her mother sent her straight back home,” he says with a chuckle. It was unwelcome news for the mother of six, and a decision that would lead to her husband’s ultimate sacrifice, giving his life fighting for our country.

Harrison grew up in small town Quebec in an area he said was heavily populated by veterans who were captured as prisoners of war in Japan. “I was hunting in northern Quebec with a cousin of mine who was a prisoner of war and a mouse ran across the floor and he said, “I’ve ate a few of them.” Bill’s cousin left for war weighing 150 pounds - returning home an emaciated 79 pounds. In spite of the sacrifices he saw happening all around him he was determined to serve. “I was too young at the time but when my brother was 15 and he joined the Navy,” says Harrison. “After my brother returned I was able to join the army in 1951 and I went to Korea and he came along with me.” 

Bill served in an artillery unit of the 175th regiment during the Korean War, a position that put him behind heavy weaponry. “I was on the big guns and all my friends and I have hearing aids now because of the sound.” The devices a constant reminder and connection to the sacrifices made fighting overseas. 

It’s stories just like Bill’s that remind us of the importance of honouring our veterans. Please take some time today to remember their sacrifice and thank those who’ve served for their courage and resilience.