Friday, November 9, 2012

Remembering Scotty

I was taught at a very young age Remembrance Day is a day of respect. A special day to honour those men and women in the armed forces who sacrificed themselves and served their country.

Before marrying my husband, a military man, I often associated Remembrance Day with elderly veterans who had served in WWI, WWII and the Korean war. I still, most definitely, pay tribute to those soldiers, however I now have a much stronger association and a true personal remembrance of those who have served and continue to serve in Afghanistan.

Through my husband I have met, socialized and have become friends with many soldiers and their families. One such veteran who I remember each and every November 11th since 2009 is Scotty. Scotty was a friend of my husband's. They served together in Afghanistan in 2006/2007 on a  7 month tour of duty and became close friends developing a military friendship/bond unbeknownst to civilians. Scotty was a true soldier, as my husband liked to call him, meaning a front of the line infanteer. My husband always spoke of Scotty very fondly and I know he looked up to him and admired him for his bravery and comradeship

My husband (2nd from the left) and Scotty (far right) while in Afghanistan in 2006/2007.

In March 2009 while serving on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Scotty was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) while on patrol. I can remember the moment I found out about Scotty's death. I was sitting at my computer writing a paper for school when my husband called from Afghanistan. He wanted to let me know himself  about Scotty's death before it was broadcast on the news. I could hear and feel the grief in his voice. I immediately felt such sadness for Scotty, for his beautiful wife and baby and for my husband who had lost a dear friend and brother in arms. Scotty was due to return home to his wife and 6 month old baby the following month.

Scotty was a beautiful man - inside and out. A man who loved life and and people. I can remember running into him one day shortly after my husband told him I was pregnant with our first child. He ran up to me and gave me one of the biggest bear hugs I had ever received in my life lifting me right up off the ground and offering me heartfelt congratulations on my pregnancy. Later, when I couldn't have been any more than twenty weeks along into my pregnancy, he gave us (for the baby) a stuffed old-fashioned Winnie the Pooh that played twinkle twinkle little star. He posessed a true generosity of spirit unlike most men I have known and I feel so lucky to have known him - even if briefly.

My daughter still has that Winnie the Pooh and she knows it was Daddy's soldier-friend who is in heaven that gave it to her; although the music has since died the memory of the man who gave it to her lives on forever in our minds and hearts - we will always remember.

Scotty is one of many brave veterans who have sacrificed their lives for our country. This Remembrance Day I will be thinking of him and all those veterans who have served and continue to serve our country.

Thank you.