Saturday, September 27, 2008

Where Families Meet Together

On September 27th, 2008 F.O.S.I.A. (Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan) held an evening for discussion, support and sharing. (Their next meeting will be Saturday, October 25th.) Their guest speaker was Dr. David Rainham who presented an engaging and resourceful discussion about stress.

Also present this evening was Donna Pickering who is the new Outreach Community Coordinator from London Military Family Resource Centre , announcing that she will be the coordinator out of Cambridge Armouries (part of the RHFC building) for Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge areas WELCOME DONNA!


At this time she extended an invitation to families of soldiers to attend a"Meet and Greet" sponsored by LMFRC to be held at the centre at:Col. J.A. McIntosh Armoury, 1 Valour Place, Cambridge on Tuesday October 7th. at 7 pm





The group received a thank you card from Cpl. Arnal's mother Wendy. Enclosed in the card was a beautifully expressed poem echoing feelings many military families have.


I placed the poem below (I cannot imagine what she is going through)

Corporal James Hayward Arnal
April 9, 1983 – July 18, 2008


My dearest James,

You died for a cause that was your belief
You made a difference lessening the grief.
Do or do not, there is no try,
Our motto till the day we die.

You travelled the world, many lives you saved,
The road of a vision you paved.
Soldiering for you was the right thing to do,
Awakening Canadian patriotism anew.

Carpe diem, seize the day!
Your legacy will show the way.
You continue to teach what life’s all about,
With each day we have less doubt.

You guide me in spirit and somehow I cope,
With this kind of miss there is no hope.
I love you James with all my heart,
Together forever, even though now apart.

I know you are still with me,
For that I’m sure will always be.
“We can rest when we die” was your fate,
My Hero, number 88.

Love always,
MomXO

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Letting Go

Well.. it happened. Honestly, it was a difficult time of my life. Letting go.

People have approached me and said, "This is your son's second tour, it should be easier this time." To tell you the truth, it's harder. It's like looking at a rollercoaster. If you have been on it before, then you know what's coming up.. the hills to climb, valleys to cross, the unexpected turns, and the familiar emotions that go up and down those hills.

We decided to go up a couple days in advance - to spend quality time with our son. We told him we were being selfish.. we want to be by him as much as we could. He smiled and say, " No, that's not selfish, it's being a Mom. " :)
We had many fun moments, memorable moments.. like the time he tossed my shoe into the Ottawa River and looked at me and smirked.. as I gave chase after him. Looking over my shoulder I knew I had to return to rescue my drifting shoe. His laughter, I truly cherish. And yes, I took my revenge with a spraying of the water.

Where to stay?
Then the thought came. Where were we to stay up there? (in confusion we had thought reservations had been made but they hadn't been.) We had to go..go on a mission.. a mission to find a place to stay. We started in Petawawa. It was booked up. Copying a page from the phone book, we started our mission. Leading towards Pembroke, we called a couple places (booked up), driving we saw no vacancy signs. Darn it. It was getting later.. and we wanted to spend time with our son! Further and further away we started finding some success.. however unfortunately.. for our um personal..um reasons.. those we chose not to stay at. Perhaps it was the odd odour in the rooms?

So we moved on. Finally we found one! (if you are in need of a place to stay, I highly recommend it!) It was the Comfort Inn in Pembroke. It overlooks the Ottawa River. Unfortunately we couldn't enjoy the view as it was getting dark. We were tired... and it would be a nice place to crash for the night.

Dinner
We met up with our son and his girlfriend over a nice juicy steak dinner. mmm at a restaurantwhich highly supports our troops. Yes, unbeknownst to him the three of us were counting the hours and moments, dreading the goodbye ... our last dinner together before deployment... 14 hours before check in..tick..tick.. His smile, his laughter... I love. We cherished each and every minute with him.. as we were aware the clock was ticking.. the deployment would soon be here. Together through tears, we all packed up his belongings in his room. As we parted we said goodnight... tick..tick.... tick... 8 hours till check in.

This was a year I shared my son - something new for me - he has a wonderful girlfriend who wanted to share him with us! She would encourage him many times saying "Sit beside your mother." And there were times we would walk away leaving them alone together so they could say their goodbyes as well. Yes - I wanted to be beside him every second, holding onto him and protecting him as mothers do- (heck, I'd go on that plane if I could) but he has someone new in his life - his love and I respect their relationship.
We returned to our place where I had things to do.. I still wanted to finish a sign for the deploying soldiers..and as last time.. write a letter to him - reminding him how proud I am of him (this I wrote with tears streaming down my cheeks)... I needed to pack up and being ready as the morning would come soon enough.

Morning
The sun rose brightly as we packed up to meet him at his breakfast meeting of choice: Tim Hortons -Our last breakfast before check in. My son was not there yet and looking around I noticed a couple - he looked like he was deploying on the same chalk. With effort, she smiled as I passed their table. I smiled back and nodded.

My son approached through the parking lot wearing his desert tans. I jumped up and ordered for him as he greeted fellow soldiers that entered. Introducing me to them - I learned of a soldier whose wife will be deploying soon. He will be parenting their 3 children in her absence - he had deployed 2 years previously (my thoughts will be with you.) The coffee didn't last long enough... his girlfriend K. and I exchanged glances and we knew what the other was thinking.. this was it.
As we approached the building, it looked much bigger than before. Ominous in the morning skies. Nope, changed my mind.. didn't want to do this... as I had promised him no tears and I could feel the stinging in my eyes already.

Check In
Entering, I noticed many, many soldiers and families inside - hugging, taking pictures, laughing, sipping coffees, shaking hands... Here was the place where I met the section - the men serving with my son. Some mothers closeby looking proudly on as we shook hands. I would then turn and give the moms a hug as I knew what they were feeling. My son phoned his grandfather from his cell phone - as his grandfather wished him the best and let him know that he was praying for him. His grandfather wanted so much to be there with him, however with his age, the trip was a difficult to make. His heart was there.

__

The Padres, dressed in desert tans as well, came and spoke with us, reassuring us that they would be watching over the troops while overseas. They had a big job ahead of them as well.

Please pray over them and protect them.



People spoke with one another, some saying their tearful goodbyes until we heard the booming commands. Soon, they started calling the names. Roll Call. "Sgt. ___ " "Here!" Ironically, they were disappearing one by one into the light - the doorway where the buses were parked. We kept holding hands, praying and trying not to cry.


Soon my son's name was called and he walked away. Head held high. He walked towards the door. While walking away from the room, I noticed one mother crying uncontrollably. I stopped and held her in my arms. I hope I was able to comfort her in some way.
Outside the building, many people stood. I noticed one woman, wearing red, waved feverishly as each bus passed. The troops need this support. We passed many yellow ribbons as we travelled through the base.
Through Eganville, the buses drove over a bridge adorned with yellow ribbons. Lots of support.
A BIG SALUTE TO THE PEOPLE OF TWEED, ONTARIO




Then they edged towards Tweed. Here I had attached a big yellow ribbon (dwarfed by the letters on the sign) to their welcome sign (as I knew they would be making a stop at the Tim Hortons here) Unbeknownst to me.. the people of the town were awaiting the arrival of the soldiers in the Tim Hortons parking lot! Wearing red shirts - men, women and children cheered our troops- waving their Canadian flags feverishly! What an amazing sight. Well, tears flowed easily now. It was such a moving experience to see this!
They cheered loudly as the soldiers disembarked the buses towards the building. The troops stopped and shook hands with the towns people and chatted with them. At the entrance of the building, stood the manager handing out Tim Hortons Certificates to the soldiers and veterans stood close by shaking hands of each of our troops. I thanked many of the people their for their outstanding support - letting them know that it meant a lot not only to the soldiers but to families as well.

video

Soon they left the parking lot. Under a police escort, they drove along the main road. Here I noticed all the houses sporting flags and signs saying "Bless Our Troops" "Support Our Troops." The legion in Tweed awaited their arrival where veterans and more towns people had gathered, cheering our soldiers! and again their flags. What a sight! The soldiers left the buses and met with the towns people who wished them well on their mission. The veterans came to me and gave me hugs - letting me know that they would be praying for them.. assuring me of their safety.



Soon the bus' horn sounded and the soldiers climbed on board. The people gathered and waved and cheered.



THANK YOU TWEED FOR ALL YOUR OUTSTANDING SUPPORT!

CFB Trenton
Well the air force base approached soon enough. .. too soon. Slow that clock down. Families re united with their soldiers. Hugs were everywhere. Looking around I noticed some soldiers talking on their cell phones.

Last calls before boarding for the land far away - on the other side of the world. Soon we learned that we had a 2 hour wait. Some sat inside the airport, some approached the pay phones to make their calls. (trying to make light of things, I teased them saying they were calling in pizza orders) others went outside. The sun was strong. It didn't matter. The sunkiss would be a reminder of this day. As hunger pangs started, I suggested to my son to take orders for Tims for his section and I would send my husband to fill their orders. (o.k. have to let you in on this -I told my husband that our son was taking orders from all the soldiers - he nearly fainted) We would have done so if we could. I promise.


Saying not goodbye.. but see you soon

Sitting outside, I soon noticed the arrival of the box filled with coffees, teas, donuts, etc. Sitting on the curbside with his girlfriend on one side and myself on the other of my son (her orders:) we sat sipping our teas. Soon it was time. Time to say our goodbyes. Thinking of the other soldiers, I decided to say goodbye outside. My son turned to me and said "Well Mom.. it's time." He said, "you are so brave and are doing so well." I looked to him, holding onto him tightly, I wept -hard. With my tears soaking into the desert camoflauged uniform, I told him I failed - I wasn't the brave one now. But I let him know how much I love him and how proud of him I am. I told him from the time he walks through the door, his focus and worries should not be on us, but only on the mission ahead of him. Holding onto his hand I again told him I loved him once again and then let go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Just Need One More Day.. and Ya that Calendar Can Speed up Now.

It has happened. My son has deployed. He has now joined the rest of the Battle Group. I need just one more day to compose myself before writing the next entry.
It's been difficult.
Thanks for being sooo patient and for your many emails. They have truly comforted me.
Hey.. I'm supposed to help you!
Talk to you tomorrow.
~ Love m.m.

Son.. if you're reading this.. remember I love you and am very very proud of you!
"Tear check."

Do you need someone to talk to? ...

Do you have a family member who is currently deployed overseas or is preparing to deploy or has returned? You are invited to attend a meeting and get together with:



“FAMILIES OF CANADIAN SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN”
ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2008
7:00 P.M.

AT THE 404 WING R.C.A.F., MEMBERS’ LOUNGE
510 DUTTON DR., WATERLOO

7:00 to 7:30 p.m. Arrival and Registration.
7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Guest Speaker, Dr. David Rainham
Stress and Stress Management

8:30 p.m. - ? Questions and Answers, Upcoming Events, Socializing

About the Speaker: Helping patients manage stress has become a major part of Dr. Rainham’s family practice. He has written several books on the subject, as well as being a contributor to several magazines, newspapers, and radio stories. He has found that effective management of stress can improve overall physical health.

Directions:
From Kitchener or out-of-town: Take 86 North (Conestoga Parkway) and take the Northfield exit (one exit past King St.). Exit at Northfield, keep right and proceed over expressway. Turn left onto Parkside Drive (at lights), and then left onto Weber. Go over the hill and turn immediately left onto Dutton Dr. The facility is located at the end of the road.

From Waterloo or downtown: Follow Weber St. N. and go past Albert St. (traffic lights) and turn right onto Dutton Dr. before going over the hill.

R.S.V.P. by September 26, 2008 - focsia@hotmail.com or kerrytownson@rogers.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Whoa ... Slow that Calendar Down!



Can someone slow these days down a bit? I have been behind in my postings as my son's deployment date nears closer and closer.

As the days are marked off the calendar, we try to do things with him as much as possible. I tell him "it's creating memories" and he smiles. I took him horseback riding the other day. I loved seeing his smiles. Yes, memories. (and my legs still hurt) I want to thank Jessica (our leader) for putting up with us even thought she was physically hurting at the time. It's o.k. I'll get those branches out of my hair someday. Now about those berries?.. hmm.


Today a young child approached me and looked up to me and said "You son army. He away. You cry." I then felt the burning in my eyes as the tears welled up, wanting to release, but I couldn't cry, not infront of this sweet child. I looked at him and tried my best to smile. But his glances travelled from my one eye to the other. He knew.


Today my son and I had been invited to attend a luncheon. It was a fabulous lunch, with many in attendance. Many faces I recognized, possibly from the past or through the media. I felt like royalty as they seated us at the head table. The voices were drowned out by the thoughts of packing... the thoughts of saying goodbye. (I had told my son thought I would never say "goodbye" to him... it would be "see you soon". Goodbye seems so final.) Proudly I watched over him as many people approached to speak with us. Every so often, in his familiar way, he'd give my arm a gentle pinch - a way of saying I love you.


It was so sad as we parted company there in the parking garage, to meet again up on base.


Where I'll sleep when I get up there, I don't know. I've been told the motels are all booked and the barracks are full. I'll sleep in the car if I have to.. I need to be there... for him.. for them.


This evening, feeling the stress, I walked into a neighbourhood bookstore and bought a familiar Tall Skinny Vanilla Latte (those names sure are hard to pronounce at times.) I walked around the bookstore aimlessly, almost like being in a daze. To not exit with a new purchase under my arm, I know something's not right. Then, on my way home, the tears started uncontrollably. I pulled over and phoned a fellow military mom. Through tears, we talked at lengths. Thank you J. for pulling me through. For a wee person, you have BIG shoulders. :)

Son, if you're reading this right now, I want you know that "I love you very much and I'm so very proud of you. And you're right: You work with the military over there and I'll work on it from this side of the world. Godspeed my love and Good Hunting Troops."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Largest Human "Support Our Troops" Banner


WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SHOW OUR TROOPS HOW MUCH WE CARE!

Participate in Forming the

Largest Human
"Support Our Troops" Banner

Bring as many people as you wish ~ let's make it huge!!!

REMEMBER TO WEAR A RED SHIRT to participate!

Great Lake Helicopter will be flying a chopper over the field at 3:30 pm with New Hamburg Independent Photographer, Tim Murphy aboard to document our event from the air.
Copies of this picture will be forwarded to ALL our Troops.

When: Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 p.m.
Where: New Hamburg Legion Br 532
Directions: From Kitchener Area: - Highway 7/8 West towards Stratford - take the Nafziger exit - you will see the Wilmot Rec Centre on the right - it's right there!
In the Main Field of the Wilmot Recreation Complex (Regional Road 5 and Hwy 7&8- Between Baden & New Hamburg)

For further details contact the New Hamburg Legion at 519-662-3770. See you there!

Bless Sgt. Scott Shipway - Sunday, September 07, 2008


God bless our fallen soldier, Sgt. Scott Shipway. My heart and prayers are with his friends and family both here and overseas. Thank you Sgt Shipway for your commitment and dedication and bravery exemplified through your tours and dedication to your comrades.



Sergeant Prescott Shipway, an infantryman, was killed on September 7, 2008 after his armoured vehicle struck an improvised explosive device during a security patrol in Panjwayii District at approximately 12:30 p.m., Kandahar time. He was a member of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based at Shilo, Manitoba.

Sgt Prescott Shipway, 7 septembre, 2008
Le Sergent Prescott Shipway a été tué le 7 septembre 2008 après que le véhicule dans lequel il voyageait eut touché un engin explosif de circonstance lors d’une patrouille de sécurité dans le district de Panjwayi. Il était membre du 2e Bataillon, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, basé à Shilo, Manitoba.
an infantryman with the 2nd battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, died in a roadside attack.



A roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan has killed a Canadian soldier nearing the end of his second rotation, and wounded seven others, in Kandahar province's Panjwaii district.
Sgt. Scott Shipway, an infantryman with the 2nd battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, died less than a week before he was set to go home, Brig. Gen. Denis Thompson told reporters Sunday at a new conference in Kandahar.
"Scott was a seasoned veteran ... a dedicated father and a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan," Brig General Thompson said.
He added that fellow-soldiers called him "Papa Shipway" and his motto was "to never let a comrade down."
His dedication was apparent when he helped save a fellow soldier's life during a roadside bomb attack in 2006.
"At that time, he disregarded the danger to himself, secured the area of the blast and began treating the casualties, including one who had lost both his legs," Thompson said.
"Using the radio he got direction from the chief surgeon and was able to stop the bleeding, thereby saving that soldier's life.
Shipway was cited for his quick reaction.
Thompson said friends and other soldiers admired Shipway because he never "sugarcoated the truth."
"He always gave you an honest answer, whether you wanted it or not," the general said.
Shipway was based at CFB Shilo and had joined the military in 1991. He had previously completed tours of duty in Cypress, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
The injured soldiers were well enough to personally tell their loved ones they were okay, Thompson said.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Petawawa Red Friday Rally Supports the Troops


Observer photo by Stephen Uhler
General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of Defense Staff, left, presents Debbie and Denis Moncion, owners of Moncion Grocers Petawawa Market, a certificate recognizing 25 years of service to the community during the Red Friday Rally held yesterday. Petawawa Market has been a strong supporter of the military and Red Fridays, helping to raise money for the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre through the sale of the "support the troops" signs, getting red T-shirts for their entire staff to show their support, and in other ways.

As soldiers stationed at CFB Petawawa begin their latest deployment to Afghanistan, organizers of Red Fridays felt it was time for a stronger show of support for Canada's military family.
On Friday, about 500 people gathered at the parking lot of Moncion Grocers Petawawa Market over the lunch hour to take part in a Red Friday Rally, a way to salute the troops and their families.

After listening to a slate of speakers including General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of Defense Staff, a mass of red and yellow balloons were cut loose. Each carried a white card, upon which were written messages of well wishes and addressed to soldiers now serving overseas.

Lisa Miller, who with Karen Boire started Red Fridays in Petawawa two and a half years and 130 Fridays ago, said the idea has gotten stronger since the first day when people were encouraged to wear red back in March 2006.
"Red Friday is about showing support," she said, both to the soldiers and their families back home. Events like Friday's rally are important in that they show how much the public backs the efforts of the troops, as they get ready to deploy to Afghanistan for another tour of duty.
"We, as a community, will continue to hold them in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers," Ms. Miller said.

She and Ms. Boire thanked Denis and Debbie Moncion of Moncion Grocers Petawawa Market for backing the movement in its early days to now, doing everything from selling support the troops signs to providing their staff with some of the first red T-shirts with the yellow ribbon insignia.
Proceeds from the sales are directed to the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre, helping it support military families.
The Moncions were honoured several times throughout the rally, including by Gen. Natynczyk, who presented them with a plaque commemorating their store's 25 years of service to the community.
It was unfortunate that the many waiting soldiers in attendance needed to return to work before Gen. Natynczyk's arrival.
Gen. Natynczyk said he always loves to return to Petawawa, which he considers his home away from home.
"You are the finest military community I know," he said.
This Red Friday is bittersweet for the CDS. He attended the funeral of a member of 3 RCR who passed away from cancer in the same week three more soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.
"We have to reflect on our losses and the three families in mourning," Gen. Natynczyk said, knowing the community will wrap itself around these families to support them in their time of need, as they do elsewhere in the military.
This support of them and their families helps, he said, and gives the soldiers the strength to carry on even after being "hit hard in the gut" by losses.
"I'm proud of them and I'm proud of being your Chief of Defence Staff."
MP Cheryl Gallant thanked the efforts of Ms. Miller and Ms. Boire for starting and continuing the Red Friday campaign.
"You blanketed a red carpet from one end of Canada to the next," she said, and helped remind the country there is no higher calling than those who serve our nation in uniform.
The MP said as the ongoing mission in Afghanistan continues and the media coverage increases, it is important to remember why Canada is in there in the first place - to fight those who would threaten our security elsewhere.
"When the going gets really tough, we have to hunker down and remember that," she said.
Theresa Sabourin, executive director of the PMFRC, said they are gathered to show support for the military no matter where they are serving. She said while the focus is on Afghanistan, they shouldn't forget the soldiers serving all over the world.
"Canadian Forces members defend our sovereignty and defend the peace," she said. "They are heroes to most and deeply committed to their jobs."
Ms. Sabourin said it is important to remember their strength is in their families, who themselves have a tremendous commitment to back the soldiers. She said for the rest of the community, it is vital to remind military families they stand with them too.
"You are not alone," she said. "You have a whole community behind you."
MPP John Yakabuski said events such as this rally, along with regularly observing Red Fridays, serve to show the military family the entire Ottawa Valley supports and stands behind them.


"We need to make sure on a regular basis we thank them," he said. "In fact, we can't thank them enough."
Lt.-Col. Bill Moore, commander of CFB Petawawa, said the way the community has rallied around base personnel during good times and bad has brought them all much closer together. He said military life has always been tough on those who serve and their families and stressed one cannot underestimate the positive impact of events such as Red Fridays.
"It is crucial to remember the community support you give does make a difference," Lt. Col. Moore said.
Thank you Lisa and Karen for all the work you do for our troops. Thanks for the pics.
Thank you to the Moncion Family for being there and supporting our troops through all the deployments.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cherished

As each day becomes personally increasingly difficult, today, as I was about to start my day, I picked up the newspaper and on the front page was a photo that grabbed and twisted at my heart. Oh.. did it hurt. It was so sad. I thought I'd share the photo with you below. I cannot imagine the pain Krista Sierens is going through now. Thank you Cpl Grenon for your dedication, bravery and sacrifice .. and to Krista: may you gain strength and know that we support you through your difficult journey ahead. Keep him strong in your memories and in your heart.

This photo was taken at Cpl Grenon's departure March 7, 2008.
"Tears streak down the face of Krista Sierens as she kisses Cpl. Andrew Grenon
in their final moment together before Grenon’s departure from CFB Shilo on
March 7 to Afghanistan. Grenon was killed in an insurgent attack yesterday."
Photo Credit: CP

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bless Our Fallen Soldiers

I shall continue posting throughout this article.

Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even then your right hand will guide me your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to you.” ~Psalm 139
As they prepared for their return to Canada today, September 03, 2008 I share the sad news with you that 3 of our Brave Canadian Soldiers were killed and 5 were injured today after an insurgent attack on their armoured vehicle while they were conducting a security patrol in Zharey district at approximately 9:30 a.m., Kandahar time, on September 3, 2008. The fallen soldiers are: Corporal Andrew Paul Grenon, Corporal Michael James Alexander Seggie, and Private Chadwick James Horn. All three soldiers were infantrymen with the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Shilo, Manitoba.The injured soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Multi-National Medical Facility at Kandahar Airfield. One soldier is in critical condition, one is in serious, but stable condition, two are in good condition, and one has been treated and returned to duty. (The identities of the injured soldiers are not released.)

"The brave soldiers killed today were coming to the end of their tour and it saddens me to think of their loved ones awaiting their return later this month," Brig. Gen. Denis Thompson said.
He released few details about the attack in Kandahar province, except to say the soldiers were not killed by an improvised explosive device, but by a rare direct attack at about 9:30 a.m. local time.
Thompson did say, however, that the soldiers fire back with small arms and other weapons.
Of the five soldiers wounded in the attack, one is in critical condition, one is in serious but stable condition, two are considered to be in good condition and one has been treated and released, Thompson said.
He had kind words to say for each of the soldiers.
Seggie
"often made himself the brunt of jokes just to get a laugh out of his section," Thompson said. "He was a great communicator and had learned several Pashtun phrases in order to work better with the local population.
Seggie was from Winnipeg and his family issued a statement Wednesday saying, "We love Mike very much and we are proud of all that he has accomplished. Mike was very proud of his service and believed in what he was doing."
"Mike loved life and lived it to the fullest, there was never a dull moment when Mike was around. He enjoyed driving his 1968 Baraccuda and showing it off any time he had the chance.
"He was the best son/brother/uncle anyone could have ever asked for."
Known to his friends as "Drew" or "G," the 23-year-old Grenon was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
"He brought confidence to those around him and inspired the first-tour guys, making them feel safe," Thompson said.
Seggie "often made himself the brunt of jokes just to get a laugh out of his section," Thompson said. "He was a great communicator and had learned several Pashtun phrases in order to work better with the local population.
The 21-year-old, who was considered "cool under fire" came from a long line of "proud Princess Patricias" as both his father and uncle served with the battalion.
Horn, 21, had "unlimited potential and was admired by his peers," Thompson said.
"Many in his company saw him as the best LAV gunner," Thompson said, referring to the light armoured vehicle used by Canadians. "His ability to act under fire saved many lives during the tour."


Bless our Fallen Soldiers, and their families and friends both here and in Afghanistan .. and protect and watch over our injured, giving them strength for a strong recovery. ~ Military Mom



'I am proud of the way he died.': Theresa Charbonneau, Cpl. Andrew Grenon's mom

Corporal Andrew Paul Grenon was killed on 3 September 08 after an insurgent attack on his armoured vehicle while conducting a security patrol in Zharey district at approximately 9:30 a.m., Kandahar time. Corporal Grenon was an infantryman with the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry based in Shilo, Manitoba.

"You can only do so many practices without playing a game," "This is our turn to play the game. Let's drop the puck. Let's throw the ball. Let's start it up. It's kickoff time, baby." -

~A.Grenon before going to war


Le Caporal Andrew Paul Grenon a été tué le 3 septembre 2008 lors d’une attaque menée par des insurgés contre son véhicule blindé pendant qu’il effectuait une patrouille de sécurité dans le district de Zharey à environ 9 h 30, heure de Kandahar. Le Caporal Grenon était un fantassin au sein du 2e Bataillon, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry basé à Shilo, au Manitoba.

"Why We Fight"


Written by Cpl. Andrew Grenon


"I've often asked myself why we are here. Why my government actually agreed to send troops to this God-forsaken place.
"There are no natural resources. No oil, gold, or silver. Just people.
"People who have been at war for the last 40 plus years. People who want nothing more than their children to be safe. People who will do anything for money; even give their own life.
"I look into the eyes of these people. I see hate, destruction and depression. I see love, warmth, kindness and appreciation.
"Why do we fight? For in this country, there are monsters. Monsters we could easily fight on a different battlefield, at a different time. Monsters that could easily take the fight to us.
"Surrounding these mud walls and huts is a country in turmoil. A country that is unable to rebuild itself. A country that cannot guarantee a bright future for its youth.
"Why do we fight? Because, if we don't fight today, on THIS battlefield, then our children will be forced to face these monsters on our own battlefield.
"I fight because I'm a soldier.
"I fight because I'm ordered.
"I fight, so my children won't have to."

(Grenon had written this poem during his 2006 tour of duty in Afghanistan)

Thank you D.B. for sending it onto me.


The city of Windsor has ordered flags at half-mast and will create a book of condolences for the family. Staff at St. Joseph's high school reacted with shock and sadness Wednesday, when they learned their former student had been killed in Afghanistan.
Principal Mike Seguin said Cpl. Andrew Grenon displayed his leadership abilities early on. Seguin said staff and students said prayers Wednesday for Grenon, and a special prayer service is scheduled at the school Sept. 12.
The news on the second day of school was made even more poignant by the fact Grenon's 14-year-old brother has just started Grade 9 at St. Joseph's. Counsellors will be available for students, said Seguin. "Certainly, we're going to honour his life here. He was a real leader," Seguin said. "He paid the ultimate sacrifice."



Corporal Michael James Alexander Seggie was killed on 3 September 08 when an unknown explosion detonated near his armoured vehicle while conducting a security patrol in Zharey district at approximately 9:30 a.m., Kandahar time. Corporal Seggie was an infantryman with the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry based in Shilo, Manitoba.

Le Caporal Michael James Alexander Seggie a été tué le 3 septembre 2008 lors d’une attaque menée par des insurgés contre son véhicule blindé pendant qu’il effectuait une patrouille de sécurité dans le district de Zharey à environ 9 h 30, heure de Kandahar. Le Caporal Seggie était un fantassin au sein du 2e Bataillon, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry basé à Shilo, au Manitoba.


"For those I love I will sacrifice."
Private Chadwick James Horn was killed on 3 September 08 after an insurgent attack on his armoured vehicle while conducting a security patrol in Zharey district at approximately 9:30 a.m., Kandahar time. Private Horn was an infantryman with the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry based in Shilo, Manitoba.

Le Soldat Chadwick James Horn a été tué le 3 septembre 2008 lors d’une attaque menée par des insurgés contre son véhicule blindé pendant qu’il effectuait une patrouille de sécurité dans le district de Zharey à environ 9 h 30, heure de Kandahar. Le Soldat Horn était un fantassin au sein du 2e Bataillon, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry basé à Shilo, au Manitoba.

Ramp Ceremony - Kandahar, Afghanistan - "They are coming home."
September 4th, 2008



"We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved,
and now we lie
In Flanders fields."





As thousands of soldiers began shuffling off the tarmac at Kandahar Airfield following an evening ramp ceremony for three fallen Canadians, Pte. Glen Kirkland slowly rolled up to the belly of the Hercules transport plane and carefully pulled himself out of his wheelchair.
Walking up the 45 degree incline into the cargo bay where the caskets of 23-year-old Cpl. Andrew Grenon, Cpl. Mike Seggie, 21, and Pte. Chad Horn, 21, sat wrapped in Canadian flags appeared to be a challenge for the injured soldier, but missing out on a final farewell clearly wasn't an option.
Kirkland and four others were injured in the assault and likely owe their lives to many of the 24 teary-eyed pall bearers who carried the caskets and who are typically drawn from the platoons of the fallen.


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Repatriation into Canada at CFB Trenton, ON - They Come Home into the Arms of Their Families and Friends



Saturday, September 6th, 2008 at 6 p.m. at CFB Trenton.

The grief was audible at CFB Trenton Saturday night as three families, united by their losses, gathered for the return of three young men killed in an ambush in Afghanistan.

More than 100 family members of Pte. Chad Horn and Cpls. Andrew Grenon and Mike Seggie lined the tarmac for the repatriation ceremony. Loud sobs could be heard from where they stood as first of the flag-draped caskets was lowered from the military aircraft.
The families took turns placing individual roses, some red, some yellow like the “Support Our Troops” ribbons that adorn many cars on the caskets carrying the remains of their sons and brothers.


The parents of Corporal Michael Seggie - Jim Seggie and his wife Shirley, right - along with other family members view the hearst carrying the casket of the soldier during a ceremony Saturday in Trenton, Ont (Photo credit: Canadian Press)

Colonel in Chief of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, as well as fellow soldiers.
In an unusual scene for a repatriation ceremony, troops returning from Afghanistan, some of whom would have fought alongside the fallen soldiers, shared the plane with their remains. The 108 soldiers, based in Edmonton and Shilo, Man., stood in tribute to Cpl. Seggie, Pte. Horn and Cpl. Grenon for the ceremony, then were welcomed home by Mr. MacKay and Ms. Jean, after serving about seven or eight months in Afghanistan. They were to head west to their home bases later Saturday night.

Grief cried out as Cpl Grenon was lowered onto the tarmac at CFB Trenton.
Photo Credit: Pete Fisher
Family members cried, looking as though they might have collapsed to the ground if not for the both physical and emotional support provided by the rest of the family. Young children, visibly stricken by grief, clutched teddy bears and were comforted by others.
The families were joined on the tarmac by dignitaries including Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean, Defence Minister Peter MacKay, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk and former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, Colonel in Chief of the soldiers' regiment, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.


Honouring our soldiers and families were hundreds of people standing on many of the overpasses over the 401 between Glen Miller Road in Trenton and the Don Valley Pkwy Toronto. "We wear red in support and wave a flag to show the families how much we care for them during their difficult time. It's moment that will stay with you forever."


Our Condolences
Place your condolences for our soldiers families and friends in the Comments section below and I will repost them here:
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My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I are dismayed by the tragic news of the death of Corporal Andrew Paul Grenon, Corporal Michael James Alexander Seggie, and Private Chadwick James Horn of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba. All three, along with five of their comrades, were on patrol in their vehicle when they came under attack. We are deeply saddened that once again, such grief weighs heavily on the greater military family and on all of Canada.
This tragedy reminds us of how dangerous the conditions are and the relentless aggression that our military men and women face while on this mission. In spite of the recent attacks, Cpl Grenon, Cpl Seggie, Pte Horn and their comrades demonstrated outstanding professionalism and loyalty. Always ready to serve, they fully understood how vital their support is to the humanitarian efforts in the communities of Kandahar province, where insecurity and violence are daily realities.
From the very bottom of my heart and on behalf of all Canadians, I offer my sincerest condolences to the family, friends and comrades in arms of Cpl Grenon, Cpl Seggie, and Pte Horn. We know that your sorrow is inconsolable, and we wanted to reassure you that their courageous and invaluable contribution will never be forgotten. We also wish the five wounded soldiers a full recovery, and extend our full gratitude to our troops stationed in Afghanistan, whose sense of duty remains as steadfast as ever.



Michaëlle Jean


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"Family and friends have been giving the family extremely good support. We are all very proud of Andrew and I’d like to thank all the people sending in kind comments to the Windsor Star website under the article about my brother and the two other brave men who died in the same attack. It helps a lot. I remind you to keep praying for our forces and for world peace. I’ll always remember the ‘heroes’ work’ you did for our country. Family members often call me Andrew by accident and I’m honored to be called your name. We’ll always remember you, Andrew."


Matthew
Andrew Grenon's 14 year old brother


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It is very difficult to know what to say at this time. We would first like to extend our sincere condolences to the families of Andrew’s fallen comrades and to the families of those soldiers who were injured in this outrageous attack. Please know that we will pray for their speedy recovery.
As difficult as this is to accept, what makes it easier is knowing that Andrew was happy and content as a soldier in the PPCLI, that he firmly believed in Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, and that he saw the good that was being done there.
Andrew sent home the following poem in November 2006, when he was half-way done his first tour in Afghanistan. It says it all.
Why We Fight
I’ve often asked myself why we are here.
Why my government actually agreed to send troops to this God-forsaken place.
There are no natural resources.
No oil, gold, or silver.
Just people.
People who have been at war for the last 40 plus years.
People who want nothing more than their children to be safe.
People who will do anything for money; even give their own life.
I look into the eyes of these people.
I see hate, destruction and depression.
I see love, warmth, kindness and appreciation.
Why do we fight?
For in this country, there are monsters.
Monsters we could easily fight on a different battlefield, at a different time.
Monsters that could easily take the fight to us.
Surrounding these mud walls and huts is a country in turmoil.
A country that is unable to rebuild itself.
A country that cannot guarantee a bright future for its youth.
Why do we fight?
Because, if we don’t fight today, on THIS battlefield,
then our children will be forced to face these monsters on our own battlefield.
I fight because I’m a soldier.
I fight because I’m ordered.
I fight, so my children won’t have to.
By: Andrew Grenon


Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis called to offer his condolences and advised us that the flags on city properties will be flown at half-mast in honour of Andrew. This protocol is extremely comforting to us. Please know how much this means to our family at this time.

Family of Cpl Andrew Grenon

Red Friday Rally in Petawawa

On Friday September 5th, 2008
Moncion Grocers Petawawa Market will
“Salute Our Troops and Their Families”

We will be hosting a Red Friday Rally in our parking lot
At 11:30 am


Joining us for this special event will be:
-Star 96.7 Fm radio host, James Patrick, event Emcee
-Star 96.7 Fm’s Annette Reynolds for the singing of our Canadian National Anthem
-Lisa Miller, one of Petawawa’s own Red Friday Ladies
-Theresa Sabourin, Executive Director, Petawawa Military family resource Center
-Ed chow, deputy mayor town of petawawa
-LCol Bill Moore, Base Commander CFB Petawawa
-Chief of the Defense Staff, General Walter Natynczyk

This event is open to the public so we encourage you put on something red, come on down and show your support for the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces as well as their families, as we celebrate...


“Red Friday: Moncion Grocers Salutes our troops and their families”

There will be a free bbq between 1130am & 1pm
And complimentary cake in the store after the rally


Thanks Lisa for the info .. and to both you and Karen for all you do for our Troops! HUA!! ~ Military Mom

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Sacrifice Medal


Shown here is an artistic rendering of the Medal created by the Chancellery of Honours.

On August 29, 2008 - Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, was pleased to announce that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II approved the creation of the Sacrifice Medal. The medal will be awarded to military personnel, members of allied forces or Canadian civilians working under the authority of the Canadian Forces, who suffered wounds or death caused by hostile action, on or after October 7, 2001.
“Our soldiers deserve our utmost respect and deepest gratitude,” said the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. “This medal recognizes the valued contribution of those who sacrificed their health or their lives while serving Canada.”
Applications will be processed through the usual military chain of command.
An inaugural presentation ceremony will take place at Rideau Hall at a later date.