For most of my life Remembrance Day seemed like a historical event, remembering the dead of wars past. I had really no family or personal connection. My grandfathers were too young for the first war and too old for the second. My Mother's father was a pattern maker in the shipyards in Halifax during the second world war and so was likely also in a protected occupation. My father and uncles were all too young for the Second World War and none ever served in the Korean war either.
Major Ray Ruckpaul
Even though I was in the military, deaths of soldiers on UN Missions were few and far between and still I had no personal experience. That is until Afghanistan; now I have a personal connection with Remembrance Day. Two of the soldiers who have died on the mission in Afghanistan were colleagues and friends from my time as the Quartermaster of the Armour School in Gagetown: Maj Ray Ruckpaul and Sgt Craig Gilliam.
Sergeant Craig Gilliam
Every year I take the time to look at the photos of every person who has died while we have been Afghanistan. For those that say we should not be there, take a moment and think that there were also people who probably said we had no business taking a stand against Nazi Germany. It really is no different, oppression against a people even by their own government is still oppression. But really for the soldier, sailor and airman; it is just the job they have sworn to do, to go into harms way when so directed by our government. So please even if you don't agree with our role, remember the courage of the men and women, this Remembrance Day, who have served and paid the ultimate price.
Craig and Ray, in addition to being soldiers, were fathers, husbands, sons and friends.
With the going down of the Sun, we will remember them.