Kevin Mead doesn’t have to wonder what the sacrifice of fighting for you country means — he has seen it up close and personal.
And his memory of those accumulated experiences stays with him.
As the lieutenant-colonel for the British Columbia Dragoons, a primary reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Canadian Forces based out of Kelowna and Vernon, Mead has done tours of duty in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Macedonia.
In Afghanistan, Mead participated in 32 ramp ceremonies for soldiers killed in battle.
“Every time I hear the bagpipes I get a little choked up having heard them at those ramp ceremonies,” he said.
The regiment will be represented at various Remembrance Day ceremonies across the Okanagan on Monday, Nov. 11.
Meade says about one-third of the regiment’s 120 members have been deployed overseas.
Those men return home, like Mead, with experiences they share with their comrades, and in a somewhat less blunt fashion with students at schools where they are invited to speak about Remembrance Day.
“Being in the military is about serving something bigger than yourself and contributing to that belief,” Mead said.
And he acknowledges any sense of appreciation that younger people have today for veterans should also be extended to other first responders — police, firefighters, paramedics, etc. — who risk their lives every day for the benefit of others.
While the memory of the Korean conflict or Second World War become less relevant to the younger generation, he notes that nearly everyone’s family has some connection to those who fought, and in some cases died, fighting for their country during WW II.