Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre hosted a Remembrance Day service last Friday, where students, faculty, and community members alike came together to listen to the testimonies of two Second World War veterans and one current sub-lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy, currently in his 23rd year of active service.
Royal Canadian Air Force
From the parade square at Danforth Tech, Alina Farrukh can see the loftiest of goals.
“You get to learn about clouds and stuff that I would not learn at home or with any other program,” Farrukh said.
Farrukh, 14, says her ultimate goal is to get her pilot licence through the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and to pursue her dream to fly air force aircraft.
Mildred Kennedy’s family served Canada in its armed forces, but few noticed.
“It was lonely,” she said.
Mildred Kennedy is the widow of Gottfried Kennedy, a Royal Canadian Air Force photographer, who served in the military in 1967, during the Cold War in the Canadian Arctic.
The veteran has finished speaking. He’s told his life story. A young cub scout stands and asks a question.
“Mr. Lightstone why should we care about all of this stuff,” he asked.
Capt. Lightstone gets up from his chair and smiles at the young scout and said, “Because in Canada we are very lucky to live in a country where we have freedom and privileges. … That’s why Remembrance Day is important.”
On one of the last pages of his father’s old pilot’s logbook, Dave Ward Jr. saw his own name written down. Dave Sr. often took Dave Jr. up for casual flights at the Brampton Flying Club well after his time in the armed services. “I never knew that he had kept track of all of our flights together,” Ward Jr. said. “That’s pretty cool.” During the Korean War, Flying Officer David Ward logged over 1,148 hours teaching pilot recruits of the Royal Canadian Air Force how to survive in the sky.
Earlier this year, some high school students showed Toronto Legionnaires they can remember veterans. Along the way, their art touched branch president, Debbie Moore. “I was blown away by the artwork. I could not believe how much time and effort they put into it,” Moore said.
The Afghanistan bridge vigils left deep impressions on reservist Bill Walker. “It was incredibly moving,” he said. “I remember being there and wanting to do something more than just have a yellow bumper sticker that says ‘Support our Troops.’”
It happened on a night in May of 1944. Fred Davies remembered the cannon shell from an enemy fighter aircraft flying past his face. It ripped into the engine of his bomber. “The engine and wing… blew up,” he remembered, “(creating) an immediate ball of constant flame about 20 feet or higher.”
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.