Remembering Our Own – A New Tradition Begins

By: Cpl Edward Morley M.M.V.
24 November 2008

On November 11, 2008 the weather was unusually kind for this time of year and this enabled two small contingents from the Regiment, formed by the now “scattered” members of C Sqn, TF 3-07, to parade in memory of two of our own.

Squeezed into a van, the first delegation of soldiers headed south towards Nanton, a small town just 45 minutes south of Calgary, were they were met by a remarkably warm and receptive crowd. This year’s ceremony was particularly poignant for our soldiers, as it was just over a year ago that the Regiment and Nanton’s very own Cpl Nathan Hornburg lost his life serving alongside them in Afghanistan.

The Nanton program incorporated a short, yet touching outdoor ceremony with an enormous turnout, which included the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to Canadian Peacekeepers and Sgt Doug Wardle and Cpl Trevor Osborne had the privilege of laying the CF wreath. This was followed by a stirring indoor service, which included a few words from the Mayor, the local minister, and WO Rob Clarke. WO Clarke’s speech was particularly moving and well received by the crowd as he pointed out and listed many of the key improvements that we have made to the general way of life in Afghanistan and reminded the audience that the best way to remember and honour our fallen soldiers is to recognize and truly understand their achievements. His speech drew the first applause, proving how information like that needs to be disseminated to our public.

Following the service, a reception was held in the community centre where coffee and sandwiches were enjoyed while our soldiers happily conversed with several veterans and residents from the community - who thanked us for making the trip in order to show respect for their veterans, their town and to Nathan. Linda Loree, Nathan’s mother, was deeply touched by our attendance and invited us back to her house for a delicious home cooked meal and some “refreshments” with her family. We all felt at home and thoroughly enjoyed the food provided, all the while sharing fond memories of Nathan and expressing our gratitude to the new friends we made in Nanton.

Meanwhile, at a remarkable ceremony held in Edmonton, another assembly of Strathconas, family members and grateful citizens gathered in order to remember Tpr Michael Hayakaze - another brave member of our Regiment who’s life was taken while serving in Afghanistan less than one year ago.

The subtle and dignified ceremony took place in the fitting “Field of Honour,” at the Evergreen Funeral Home, where Tpr Hayakaze has been laid to rest. Several former C Sqn members attended, as well as a strong turnout from Michael’s family – which included his mother Machiko Inoue and his brother David, among others.

The service was very touching as Cpl Jeffrey Thompson read aloud a speech he had prepared in honour of his fallen comrade and WO Chris Seefried delivered a stirring rendition of In Flanders Fields. As the service drew to a close, and before everyone made their way to a local establishment for a warm drink and some welcomed conversation, a very touching moment occurred as everyone removed their poppies and affixed them to the wreath, which was laid on site – mimicking what the soldiers did a year ago, on Remembrance Day in Afghanistan.

These two ceremonies mark the beginning of a tradition that must be maintained and something that I can assure you is greatly appreciated by all the families involved. Just seeing the cap badge and having the opportunity to converse with members of the Regiment help to ease the loss and also reaffirm for the families, that we the Regiment, are grateful for the sacrifice and confirm for them that we will not forget.