Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembering Those Who Have Served

remembrance day

Today we take time out to honor and remember all those Veterans who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.

They fought bravely.
They returned home changed men and women.
Some did not return at all.

We honor them.
We remember them.

I was born in the USA, but lived most of my life in Canada.
My mother's family is from Scotland, and her immediate family immigrated to Canada when she was a young child.
My father's family is American.

Growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario,
I recall the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies at the old Memorial Gardens downtown.
The hockey rink would be covered with plywood and chairs set up on ice-level.  A stage at the front.
We would first wait along Queen Street and watch
as the wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph
in front of the Court House.
Row upon row, our war heroes would march solemnly
into the Gardens, laying wreaths
and displaying the flag.
Citizens would be proudly displaying their poppies
on their lapels, which were purchased from someone holding a "Poppy Day" box, collecting money for the Royal Canadian Legion.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

I absolutely love the music of John McDermott
that captures the wartime era.

Today I honor members of my family who have served in the military:

Sgt. George Thomas Currie - 4/5 Royal Scots Fusiliers
{World War II}
My Granda - George Currie
Sgt. George Thomas Currie - 4/5 Royal Scots Fusiliers
{World War II} with his brother James and brother-in-law Tommy
L-R: George Currie {my Granda}, James Currie {my great-uncle}, Tommy McClymont {my great-uncle - my Granda's brother-in-law}

Master Corporal John Tallon
My cousin - John Tallon {grandson of George Currie}
Here are the highlights of John's military career in his own words:

I began my military career with Basic Training at Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis, Nova Scotia on October 16th, 1981. While there I celebrated my 20th birthday in a unique way. I woke up to experience my first earthquake! Upon completing Basic Training, I moved to CFB Chatham, New Brunswick for contact training {real life hands on training with aircraft} in January 1982. May of that year moved me to CFB Borden for 5 months of Aircraft Engine training. My first career posting was to 427 Helicopter Squadron, at CFB Petawawa. Here I worked on the Bell 212 'Twin Huey' and the Bell 206 'Kiowa' helicopters. From here I relocated twice to El Gorah, Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula for peacekeeping duties.

In September 1989 I was posted to CFB Comox, on Vancouver Island. There I worked on the CP-140 Aurora long range patrol aircraft. This tour of duty introduced me to several interesting locations. {Hawaii, San Diego California, Puerto Rico, Iceland and the Northwest Territories to name a few} I also spent a month at U.S. Naval Air Station Sigonella Italy, assisting the U.N. arms embargo against Kosovo. 

In July 2000, on the last day of a 30 day military exercise in Hawaii, I was told that I was posted back to CFB Petawawa, Ontario. The Bell 412 'Griffon' helicopter was my next challenge. In 2003-2004 I enjoyed 7 months in Velika Kladusa, Bosnia for U.N. Peacekeeping duties.

In October 2009 I retired from the Regular Force of the Canadian Forces. After a one month holiday, I rejoined the Primary Reserve of the Canadian Forces. As of 2011, I still serve as a Reserve.

Michael DeJong
My cousin - Michael DeJong {second from left}
Incidentally, Michael is the grandson of James Currie, who is pictured above with my Granda.
In Michael's own words:

I was in the Canadian Armed Forces Cadet Instructor Cadre.  During the winter months, I was the training officer for the 155 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.  In the spring and fall, I flew for the Northern Ontario Glider Center {NOGC} which gave glider flights to air cadets from various cities throughout Northern Ontario, kids ages 13-18.  For many, it was the first time they ever flew in a plan or even traveled away from home.  These flights mainly happened at Canadian Forces Base {CFB} North Bay, but occasionally we'd travel to other airports.  During the summer months, I was instructing {at Central Region Gliding School or CRGS} cadets who won a glider scholarship {usually 16 or 17 years old} on how to fly a glider with them receiving a glider license by the end of the summer.  Or I was towing the gliders into the air while they received instruction {dangerous!}.

veteran's day
{united states}
Carl Hansen {World War I}
My Great-Grandparents {on my father's father's side}
Cecelia {Mee} Hansen & Carl Hansen
Great-Grandpa Carl Hansen
My Great Grandfather was wounded in France, during World War I.  My Great Grandmother lost contact with him after this point until she later received a post card from him stating that he was being cared for.

Private First Class John Hansen {World War II}
My Grandpa - John Hansen Sr.
My Grandpa landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy and also served the Rhineland during World War II.

Sargent Christopher Alan Hope
My cousin - Chris Hope {grandson of John Hansen Sr.}
Chris served from 1988 - 1994.  He was an Airborne Sargent.  Chris was in one of the first units deployed to Iraq when Operation Desert Storm started.  Chris' unit was made up of 10 men and women which went up and down the Iraq border deceiving the enemy.  After Chris returned, he changed units to work with a hospital unit in drug and alcohol counseling, which in turn led him to leave the military and pursue a career in the medical field.

Kristin Franklin - US Navy
My cousin - Kristin {Hansen} Franklin {on right}
Kristin just recently returned from her first deployment which was to the South Pacific
Chris & Kristin Franklin - US Navy
Chris & Kristin Franklin on their wedding day 2 years ago
Both are currently serving in the US Navy

There are many people on both my mother's and father's sides of the family who have served in the military at one point or another.  These are the ones I had information on.  I am not neglecting anyone!

Please know that I honor and thank each of you, pictured or not, for your service!

lest we forget


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