Military tradition continues through three generations

Serving in the military is a family tradition for Ben Boyden.

“I’m proud to be in the army. I joined for a reason,” he said.

Boyden, 22, joined the 48th Highlanders of Canada in November 2008, when he was 17 years old. Now a corporal in the reserves, he enjoys the experiences that the military has provided him.

“The training is something that comes with the job and we’re all happy to do it,” he added.

For Ben Boyden the military has become quite a commitment. He is often required to go to places such as Meaford, Ont., for training exercises. Sometimes that requires being outdoors in the dead of winter in temperatures as cold as minus-40 degrees. Often it means sleeping outside in six to eight man tents and having only individual meal packets, cooked by a small Colman stove. However, Boyden said the military was simply a rite of passage.

“But that’s not why I joined,” he said. “I decided to join, because my whole family is tied with the military. Both my grandfathers are war heroes in the Second World War. My grandfather on my father’s side got the Distinguished Services award, which is one of the highest, below Victoria Cross. … My grandfather on my mother’s side was in the Croatian army. He was a fighter pilot and was a war hero in Croatia.”

But, the Boyden’s legacy with the military doesn’t end there. His father joined the same regiment in which Ben Boyden and his two brothers, Zach Boyden, 24, and Max Boyden, 20, also serve.

The 48th Highlanders requires its members to show up for parade every Friday, from 7-10:30 p.m., in addition to weekend training that takes place once or twice a month.

“It’s apart of my life,” he said.

Ben Boyden and the members of the regiment will be alongside monument at Queen’s Park this Saturday, Nov. 9, for the Remembrance Day ceremonies.