On Sunday, October 17, the Royal Canadian Legion in Fredericton held a memorial service for soldiers who have died in Afghanistan. It was held outdoors around the monument to fallen soldiers that was unveiled a year ago. It was a moving ceremony with a laying of wreaths by various dignitaries and members of the fallen soldiers’ families from the area.
I had the great honour to meet some of those family members and to sign copies of Highway of Heroes in memory of loved ones. It was humbling to meet soldiers, too, some who have served in Afghanistan and have been involved in ceremonies in Kandahar and Trenton and back home in New Brunswick.
Before dinner, several people spoke to those who had gathered in the legion hall. Most memorable for me was Major Bret Parlee of CFB Gagetown. He spoke of his experiences as a leader of troops in Afghanistan, of what it is like to lose soldiers, the importance of sharing grief (grief which soldiers often must put off allowing themselves to feel), and of how he is inspired by the courage of fallen soldiers’ families.
A most moving context for the launch of a book. And I thank the Royal Canadian Legion in Fredericton for giving me this opportunity.