In the summer of 2007, Bill Walker and his two sons stood on a bridge overlooking Highway 401. They were honouring a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan. As the military convoy passed by, Walker’s eldest son had a proposition for his father.
“My oldest son (Matthew) said he was thinking of joining the military and he asked if I’d join with him,” Walker said.
Today, Bill Walker, 55, and his father Howard Walker, 87, attended a Remembrance Day observance at Centennial College’s East York campus. Each was in uniform. Bill Walker is now a reservist with the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. Howard Walker served as an aircraft engineer with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.
After the ceremony, Bill Walker spoke about his family’s relationship with the Canadian Forces.
“My connection to the military and for my sons as well, really came out of the Afghanistan campaign,” Bill Walker said, “standing on a bridge overlooking the highway of heroes.”
By enlisting, Bill and Matthew Walker became part of family tradition of military service.
“When we started that (joining the military), we really started thinking about the legacy of the family and how everyone had served in each of the major wars,” Bill Walker said.
The tradition began with Bill Walker’s grandfather, who served with the Canadian Mounted Rifles during the First World War. Both of Bill Walker’s sons are now involved with military – Matthew Walker in the army reserves and Luke Walker, 14, as a member of the cadets.
For the Walker family, military service provides a unique bond.
“There is a sense of camaraderie,” Bill Walker said. “You have all these shared experiences that you go through.”