June 16: Napanee Declares It Armed Forces Appreciation Day

Many times throughout the first weeks of this tour, the Portraits of Honour crew has often heard the words " we appreciate this project", but in Napanee they made this appreciation official. After finding out that Portraits of Honour would be visiting their community on June 16th, the event organizers in Napanee convinced the city to officially name the date of of our visit, Armed Forces Appreciation Day. 

As part of this municipal celebration, the water, explosives, and surveillance units of the Ontario Provincial Police, Local Fire and EMS services, and the Portraits of Honour Mural were all displayed inside the impressive Strathcona Paper Centre, the use of which was donated for the day. Many visitors, including the Grandmother of fallen soldier Sgt. Jason Boyes, enjoyed the displays and were moved by the realism of the portraits and their ability to showcase the emotion in the eyes of those depicted. Boyes' Gandmother was touched by how much the community had come together to remember her grandson and all of those who had fallen in Afghanistan. 

Other visitors had their own stories to share about the Servicemen and Women of our great nation, including a British World War II veteran who had been convinced by the kindness and work ethic of a Canadian commrade to move to Canada with his young wife after the war, stating Canada is "the best country in this world." After hearing that Boyes had fallen, this local legion member set out to raise money for the hero's young family, a gesture Boyes' grandmother once again thanked him for. 

From the official to the personal, it was a day of appreciation and remembrance.

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