The “Honour Our Canadian Soldiers” (HOCS) are friends and families that have provided a place, a venue for these families to gather once a year to honour their lost loved ones and to bring attention to the problem of PTSD and other medical distresses that would cause people to choose suicide.
This was the first year for this ceremony in Oromocto. I had the opportunity to talk with the McMullin family about their son Jamie, who took his own life 17 June 2011. He was a proud soldier and loving husband and a good man. However, after coming back from Afghanistan he had major issues with PTSD and lost that battle. The story is similar in many cases with other soldiers. Men and women like MCpl Bobby Saulnier, Lt. Shawna Rogers, MCpl Victor ReMillard, and Cpl Stuart Langridge, who were also honoured by family members or friends. Altogether we honoured 12 soldiers this day.
I sincerely hope this brings more attention to the problems of PTSD amongst our soldiers and starts discussions to find better ways of dealing with this major problem. As an added note, PTSD is not restricted to just soldiers, but our fine police, firefighters and EMS crews that are in the trenches every day.
Plans are in the works for next years ceremony and hopes are that families that have been affected by PTSD and the lost of loved ones will come forward to begin a healing process that I have witnessed from todays ceremony.
Sgt (Ret'd) Jeff Page CD1