August 28: Memories Shared in Moose Jaw

Under blazing sun a crowd gathered in Moose Jaw to view the Portraits of Honour and to listen to a number of speakers including, most memorably, Colonel Marc BIgaouette, Commander of 15 Wing Moose Jaw and Commanding Officer of the Canadian Helicopter Force in Afghanistan from April to November 2009.

He made the experiences of the fallen all the more real to the audience that had gathered, describing his time in Afghanistan and how the oppressive heat of the afternoon would have been considered a cool day in the Afghan desert.  He spoke of the dangers ever present for those serving in this area of conflict, but also of how Canadian courage allowed many to remove their safety gear when speaking to locals in a show of trust and vulnerability. 

He became emotional speaking about one of the fallen who had been particularly close to him, a giant of a man with a heart of a teddy bear who insisted on tossing their rations of cookies and granola bars to local children as they flew overhead. To this fallen hero, the Colonel said, " they were just children who deserved better in life than what they had been facing."

All those who went to Afghanistan, he said, had a dream for a better future, and the way to that better future was in changing the hearts and minds of those they encountered by being kind, honest, loyal and helpful. This he said, was their greatest success in Afghanistan, and we couldn't agree more.