June 3: Mount Forest, ON:  Mission Accomplished in Mount Forest.

It's not every day that the residents of Mount Forest see an O.P.P. police-led motorcade moving through their mainstreet but they did today.   Some flags waved as residents opened their arms to the Portraits of Honour National Tour.  The tour set up in front of the local Sportsplex and within an hour dozens of school children had been bussed over to meet the Tour team and to learn about the mural.

Several other folks came in throughout the day including the parents of fallen hero Corporal Matthew Dinning who reside in Wingham and the mother of Sgt. Kirk Taylor who made the trip from her home in Arizona.  Another mother shared the story of her injured son.

The day led into an evening dinner and ceremony including a strong military presence and an entertaining keynote address from Master Warrant Officer Christopher Pauliw who recounted his experiences leading up to his deployment to Afghanistan and an insight into his time there.

But for many, one of the highlights of the day came from some local high school students, about 30 of them, who came to view the mural.  They listened respectfully while tour organizers spoke about the need to support our troops and the impact that the tour will have on Canadians.  Some asked some pointed but introspective questions and then the students were invited onto the stage.  You could have heard a pin drop as the students took their time scanning the mural.  Typically students move across and exit the stage.  But not today.  Today, the students spent at least 20 minutes in silence as they stared into the eyes of our fallen heroes.  When was the last time you saw a high school student stay silent and still for 20 minutes without a TV remote in their hand? 

As they left, one of the students was overheard speaking to a classmate and said: "now I understand better why they go and now it's personal to me." 

For the Portraits of Honour Team, that one statement signified "Mission Accomplished in Mount Forest!"