Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Honouring the Fallen Along Highway of Heroes

Repatriation expected around 11 a.m. Wednesday. Aug. 22
As most Canadians know by now, 66 of our troops have been killed fighting in Afghanistan. As most Canadians know by now, our fallen soldiers are returned to the base in Trenton where families and dignitaries gather – about a two-hour drive east of Whitby.
The remains of these brave soldiers, along with their families, are then escorted in solemn procession to Toronto via Highway 401. Many crowds, firefighters and police officers have since been gathering on the overpasses along the route, with flags and signs to pay their respects. What a moving experience. This is an opportunity for fellow Canadians to pay their respects to our fallen soldier and family on our Highway of Heroes. God Bless.

According to Northumberland Today, CFB Trenton 8 Wing is saying the flight carrying fallen Canadian soldier Simon Longtin is expected to land at CFB trenton around 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21. If the flight arrives on time, a repatriation ceremony will take place immediately after landing.
The funeral procession is then expected to leave the base for the Highway 401 journey west to Toronto around noon Wednesday.

Private Longtin , 23, of the Royal 22nd Regiment — the Van Doos — was killed in southern Afghanistan Sunday morning when the light armoured vehicle (LAV) in which he was riding was hit by a roadside bomb. Private Longtin is the 67th Canadian armed forces casulaty since the Canadian mission in Afghanistan began in 2002.

A note from Tim McGrath (father of the wife of Cpl. Jordan Anderson, who was one of the six killed in Afghanistan on July 4, 2007.):

"Our family was in one of those limousines in the motorcade. I would like to say thank you to each and every person on every bridge. As the motorcade pulled out of CFB Trenton and made its way towards Hwy 401, the driver of the limousine said "Watch the overheads." We had no idea! It was comforting, and everyone in the limo was truly impressed. The army Padre riding with the family said " Look, all these people are out here for Jordan, to say Thank You, because to them, he is a hero." That trip down Hwy. 401 was one of the most moving moments. It made us realize that "our heroes" were also heroes to everyday Canadians. We saw children waving flags, we saw old ladies with their hand over their hearts, we saw veterans standing in salute, we saw moms and dads with their children. Some bridges were so full, people were lining up on the ramps on both sides of the highway. We saw the firetrucks on every bridge with firefighters standing in salute, we saw the ambulances, we saw the police cruisers. Close to 50 bridges, a worthy tribute to our heroes! One of the drivers in the limousine took a video as we passed under the overhead bridges, as everyday Canadians took a moment and paid tribute to our Afghanistan heroes. The funeral director gave us a copy of the video. We made sure that the soldier who accompanied our fallen soldiers home, could get a copy to bring back to Afghanistan and show it to the other soldiers. Again, I want to say thank you to each and every person who comes out and supports our soldiers. The families of the soldiers truly appreciate the outpouring of emotion, knowing they have lost a cherished member of the family, but that everyday Canadians appreciate that the soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice. We hold our head up proudly, just now our eyes are filled with tears."

Tim McGrath / Nanaimo, B.C.


Dana said...

I have tears in my eyes just reading this... I can't imagine what it would be like to be there. My brother is possibly signing up for another tour to Afghanistan so all those feelings come back. I am so proud of every soldier over there and back home - the work you do could never be repaid. Thank you! My sincere and heartfelt condolances to all who have lost a family member to this war.

JanFRN said...

I too am sitting here with tears dripping onto my chest. How poignant it is to hear firsthand of such overwhelming support and respect. As the mother, wife, daughter, sister, grand-daughter, great-granddaughter, niece, cousin and grandniece of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, both living and long passed, I am button-bursting proud of every person who has the courage to don the uniform and take up the torch. Stay safe, brave soldiers.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of our boys and girls in Afghanistan and seeing everyone on the bridges showing their support makes me so proud of our country. These troops are all heroes in my mind, and forever they shall remain. for hundreds of thousands have been saved because of our presence in Afghanistan and thanks to wonderful people like Private Longtin, the world is a better place because of it.


Military Mom said...

Anonymous.. thank you for supplying the website info for the petition. I have posted it on the blog.

Dana - I understand how you're feeling. Roto 2's next rotation is coming soon... and those all too familiar anxiety levels start to surmount.
We always remember those who are currently serving and those who have served. We hold them all deep within our hearts.