My dad was in the RC Navy for 36 years and reached PO1
before retiring and getting his shadow box
a couple years ago.
As I was growing up he was always away for 6 months at a time and we often got to visit him on his posted ship (where we collected a lot of stickers... and he would always sneak us even more, and give us tours). He got to travel all over the world and he loved every minute of being a sailor. His and our worst year was in 2001. My dad was one of the first Canadians to deploy for Afghanistan on a campaign against terrorism; he was posted to one of the Naval vessels that were to depart immediately. I remember a lot of people in my school saying my dad wasn't going to come back, and that he would lose his life there (obviously a lot crueler than that, since 10 year olds aren't very nice ): ) and I had nightmares for a long time about him being at the bottom of the sea somewhere. That was the hardest six months for all of us. I would always email him and give him "The live at home news featuring star reporter, your favourite daughter" which he later told me he showed his pals and it brought on a lot of laughs. He even gave us permission to get our first dog in a long time, though we refrained from telling him she was part great dane :'), which he in turn freaked out about hehe. Luckily, he came back. Sadly, not quite himself. It's not something he talks about, or wants to talk about, and my dad always loved
sharing his funny encounters while on his worldy adventures. He is such a wonderful person, he would give anything and everything to help a friend or a stranger in need. (heck he even collects/keeps basically everything
because you will never know who will need that old screw that he found on the side of the road (someone needed something obscure that he had once in the last 10 years and he's convinced it will happen again)). He's been working through his PTSD these last 15 years and he's been so much better, he's slowly getting back to his old self (a santa claus jokester) and always has a twinkle in his eyes.
I am really lucky and grateful for my "big king daddy-o". as embarrassing as that is we still call him that
He is a big part of who I am, and who I strive to become.
I know a lot more people who have served and who will serve. I will sadly not be attending a remembrance day service, due to it not being a statutory holiday in my current country of residence, but my heart and thoughts will be there. They will be with my dad, who leads the service in our hometown (you wouldn't want him to yell at you!!), my mom, who always marches alongside him, the many legion, navy, army and air veterans, officers, members and volunteers who are serving, who will serve, those who have returned and those who will never. I cannot express the amount of gratitude and respect I have for each and every one of them. Thank you so much for everything you have done, and will do for your country and it's safety.