Internet helps brother and sister during Remembrance Day

Susan Kidnie knew that she wouldn’t see her older brother on his 27th birthday (Nov. 6), but still wanted to surprise him. Kidnie, 25, bought him a copy of the brand new Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo Wii, and then made a light-hearted PowerPoint presentation and e-mailed it to him.

Later that night she learned not only did he receive the PowerPoint, he had a good laugh at it. In fact, a few others on the base did too as well.

“I think I’m actually talking to Robbie more often now than when he was in Petawawa (military base in Ontario),” Susan Kidnie said. “The weird thing is, talking to him as often as I do, I start to forget that he’s actually there, a whole world away.”

In his response to his sister, Capt. Rob Kidnie told her he couldn’t wait to play the game as soon as he got home in a few more weeks. Until then, he will remain just outside of Kandahar, Afghanistan, with the rest of the Royal Canadian Regiment’s “Oscar” Company.

A LAV (Light-Armour Vehicle) unit captain, Capt. Kidnie’s seven-month tour in Afghanistan can’t finish up soon enough for his sister. However, the constant contact with her brother that modern technology affords has really helped to ease her mind.

On any given week, Susan Kidnie talks to her brother on the phone at least once and multiple times through e-mail and Facebook conversations. Thanks to the vast time difference, most of these conversations occur after Capt. Kidnie’s long day has come to an end.

“He’s normally exhausted when I talk to him,” said Susan Kidnie, a fire behaviour consultant. “If the day’s been rough, he loves hearing any kind of mundane story from my day to get his mind off of things. The conversations are mutually beneficial. He hears about what’s going on at home and I just get to know that he’s safe.”

Susan Kidnie remains proud of her brother’s service in the military, now approaching the 10-year mark. Still she sympathizes with the loved ones of soldiers from generations past. The taken-for-granted technology that has allowed her have peace of mind simply didn’t exist for the families of the hundreds of thousands of servicemen who previously served their country.

“I couldn’t imagine waiting weeks or months on end for letters from the front,” she said. “That would be unbearable. I don’t know how so many families did it.”