Musical Tribute in Kenora

After an 11 day layoff a skeleton Portraits of Honour crew rolled into Kenora, a Northern Ontario city two hours from the Manitoba border. Despite the cold weather outside the trailer containing the mural was warm and safe indoors.

It was ironic we were located in a brand new state of the art fire hall home of our first responders. The irony being, our Canadian troops are in a way putting out fires in Afghanistan in a theatre of conflict while our firefighters extinguish fires of a civilian nature here at home.

A rather emotional opening ceremony was highlighted by the talents of four local musicians honouring our soldiers through song. A band called the Freaky Green Beatles made up of brothers Steven and Joshua Wolfe and Miguel Doulis whose average age is ten wowed the audience on hand. They performed a song entitled A Soldiers Cry written by Roland Mageau of Edmonton.

Singer/songwriter Pat Brett performed his tribute song which took him nearly two years to complete. He wrote it in the memory of Corporal Albert Storm who was killed in Afghanistan. His brother George was instrumental and the driving force in bringing POH to Kenora. This entertainer sang with raw, pure emotion evidenced by the tears shed by those in attendance. Here is a snippet of this powerful piece of music.

To take up their duty, when their time came to serve
And traveled to places all over the earth
Each one of these soldiers, have a story to tell
And many have lived their own private hell.

Our 158 men and women who volunteered to deploy into a hostile environment knew it was much more than a job knowing they were putting their life on the line each and everyday. This message was delivered by the mural’s artist Dave Sopha who spoke to almost 600 students from the many schools in the area who were bussed in to view his work. Sopha emphasized to the young people to pay forward their freedom the next time meet a soldier by either thanking them or simply shake their hand.

We must teach the youth of today to always keep the memory of past war heroes and the new veterans of today alive who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in virtual freedom.

Just be thankful my friends…be thankful indeed
For their bold sacrifice, to keep the world free.