Saying Goodbye in Borden

The largest training facility in the Canadian Forces, CFB Borden is the historic birthplace of the Royal Canadian Air Force. When the Portraits of Honour National Tour visited the base, this heritage was clear in the number of planes both old and new on display.

Looking at these aircraft, one could imagine all of the brave young men and women who have taken to the sky in defense of our great nation.  One quickly sympathized with the many families who would be left at home, and with the troops who would fly off into unknown danger.

However, listening to the stories of some of those on the base that have served overseas, it soon became apparent that the pain of departure was not only felt when leaving Canada, but also upon return home.

Though troops are grateful to return, homecoming also means leaving dear friends and comrades overseas. In many cases it also means leaving civilians that they have risked their lives to help, knowing that they will likely never see these people again. It means leaving the front lines of a mission they are passionate about, hoping the aims they believe in so strongly will be accomplished.

Though I don’t often write from a personal perspective in this tour diary, it seems appropriate now. As Tour Supervisor on the Portraits of Honour tour, I made a commitment to leave home for 6 months to travel with the tour across Canada. In a way I can relate to the feelings of leaving that these young aircrew face. In a much smaller way, I too left those I love at home, and with CFB Borden as my last stop on the tour, also left those I care about deeply, the incredible members of the tour crew, to return home.

Beyond that though, I am leaving a mission I care about deeply - raising necessary funds to help those soldiers, sailors and aircrew who return home with lasting physical and emotional injuries and honouring those who have paid the ultimate price.  I am no longer on the frontlines, and as my friends, as my fellow Canadians, I ask that you help to ensure that this mission is accomplished, and that my leaving, and much more importantly all of the leaving experienced by our Canadian Forces, is not for naught.