“Take it easy, Ricardo”
Thus ended an all too brief Facebook chat with Master Warrant Officer Richard Davey, a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, currently serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Rich and I have been friends for almost 20 years.
He’s a soldiers’ soldier. An easygoing, hard working, infantryman, with a knack for leadership that few can compare to.
His service overseas reads like a laundry list of Canadian military operations over the past 25 years. Cyprus, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan.
He has missed countless birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and special occasions, serving his country in places that most of us would never even consider visiting, let alone spending 6-8 months living in. Rich is a rare breed amongst the citizens of Canada.
He is Canadian soldier.
On Remembrance Day, we spend a great deal of time focusing on the wars and battles of the past.
From the Boer War to the Korean War, we take the time to recognize those who have served and those who have sacrificed, so that we may enjoy the freedoms we have today.
These were ordinary men and women who went out and did extra ordinary things, in the face of adversity and the horrors of war. Over 114,000 of them never returned.
As the years progress, those who did return and hold the memories of these times, are also slipping away, making our efforts to remember all the more important.
However, the experience of war is not far away. It exists in the thousands of men and women who serve our country today.
In our history, we are taught to the names of people and places that define our country’s military history; Vimy Ridge, Ypres, General Sir Arthur Currie, Dieppe, Operation Market Garden, Sergeant Smokey Smith, Battle of Kapyong and the PPCLI.
As time passes, will we remember Operation Anaconda, Battle of Panjwaii or Private Jason Lamont?
The names and the places may change, but the sacrifice and valor does not.
As we stand in silence this Remembrance Day, let us remember all of those who came before us and did the things that needed to be done to ensure our freedom.
Let us also remember those who have and are currently serving us, today, in faraway lands, for this is our story to pass on to future generations to remember.
Lest we forget.
– By Sean Smith
Parade Marshall, Remembrance Day Service 2011