Today I had the Honour of attending the H.O.C.S candlelight ceremony in memory of Soldiers of Suicide. I met some remarkable people there. In attendance were families of those who have lost their battle and have been taken by Suicide including Silver (Memorial) Cross mother Shelia Fynes, the mother of Corporal Stuart Langridge, and family. I was allowed to light one of the candles, but I felt as if all the loved ones of these fallen were there with me guiding my hand. It truly a moving experience.
We shared stories of loved ones and we came together as a family although some of us had only met that day and although there was a chill in the air the warmth of those gathered was one of those rare feelings of warmth only a few will find.
Although it was a small gathering, I know there were people that wanted to be there had they known about it. We need a day to honour those that can not find peace, but more so we need to look after those our government sends into harm’s way. We need to give them the help they so desperately need and deserve. These men and women were allowed to fall through the cracks and the pain and suffering they felt has been passed onto their families.
I met a young lady there who lost her father, Master Warrant Officer Colin Bell, recently to suicide. She stood there clutching a picture of her and her father to her chest. I wish those who sit in office could know the pain she feels, the pain all the families feel, or the way the military family feels when we lose a brother or sister in this way.
If you have never served, you can not understand the bond we feel with each other. We may never have met each other, but we are a family. While we may have personal issues with others (what family doesn’t?), we still grieve whenever one of us falls in combat, suicide, or just old age. We may go years with out seeing each other, but when we meet up again, we don’t show our feelings like most people do. We don’t tell each other “I love you”; instead, we toss insults and jokes around. In the military, we talk shit to your face but tell others what a great person you are behind your back. We will always have your back and we will always be there for your families. They ARE our families also.
It is this sense of family that we at the Veterans Coalition Party want to bring to all Canadians, and we can only do it with your help.