July 27: Vernon, BC - Two Canadian Groups Coming Together.

As Canada’s largest all Canadian service club, Kin Canada has earned a reputation over its 91 year history for bringing Canadians together to enjoy fellowship, leadership training and fun and they have become famous for their community service. 

Their most current national project, Portraits of Honour, is dedicated to bringing Canadians together to remember, honour and celebrate our Canadian Forces.

This evening, we joined up with another group of dedicated Canadians who share many of the same attributes as Kin Canada.  This evening the Portraits of Honour trailer and mural rolled onto the parade square of the Vernon Cadet Training Camp in Vernon, British Columbia.

Meeting up with a Military Police unit a few miles from the camp, we knew we were in for a special evening as we pulled up to the gate of the parade square to find a special Honour Guard waiting at full attention for our arrival.  As we drove through the Honour Guard and their crisp salutes, we knew that these young men and women would honour our troops in a very special way.

Set up went very well under the direction of the camp’s Deputy Commanding Officer, Major Peter.  She had her troops busy setting up seating and organizing every detail.

The best was still to come as moments before the ceremony was to begin, hundreds of cadets – young Canadians from across the country – began to march into the parade square, one company at a time.   Two companies arrived in parade dress uniforms while the others arrived in their athletic uniforms having just come in from training.  They marched five abreast in perfect step and soon over 500 army cadets, air force cadets and sea cadets had filed in and stood at attention.

The Regimental Sergeant Major barked out crisp commands, the colours marched on, the anthem was sang by a young army cadet and a very meaningful ceremony was officially underway.

The ceremony was fairly typical with an audience of cadets and local civilians from Vernon who came out to honour our troops. 

Looking out into the audience and see the faces of hundreds of bright young Canadians stadning at attention, it was easy to make a comparison to the cadets and Kin Canada.  They had come together to enjoy fellowship, to learn, to make friend and to have fun.  They had come together to remember, honour and celebrate our fallen heroes and to pay honour the Canadian Forces – a community that they are part of.

While other kids were at home watching mindless television or playing video games, these young people had made a conscious decision to join a group that does community service.  They made a decision to do something for their community. 

Several regular force officers and personnel also attended and many had personal connections with the base.  Tears were shed and everyone who marched in eventually marched out standing just a little bit taller and with chests thrust out just a bit further.  These yound men and women have much to be proud of and we, the Portraits of Honour National Tour crew and Kin Canada, are very proud of them.