By Isabelle Martel
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to meet me in person, you would likely take notice of my many tattoos. One of these tattoos being the iconic Bluenose ship, which is featured on our Canadian dime. I got this tattoo in honour of having been born in Nova-Scotia but by the time my third birthday rolled around my family was settling into my fourth city and third province.
Life was constantly changing, however, I discovered quickly once starting school that my expectations and tolerance for change were not the norm.
My father is no longer an active member of the military, however my step-dad is an active member, so the military is still very prevelant in my life. When I was born he was a navigator for the Sea Kings in Halifax, NS. Shortly after I was born, there was a plane crash in Peggy’s Cove, Swissair flight 111. All 229 people (219 passengers and 10 crew members) on board were killed, making the crash the deadliest accident in aviation history for the model of plane used.
My father’s squadron was dispatched for the following month to wade through the waters of Peggy’s Cove collecting debris and human remains. At this point in my life, I was far too young to understand the impact an event like this would have on one’s mental and physical health or the duty my father provided for our country.
As I began to grow older and learn more about the occupations of fellow classmates, I learned that military members were often asked to do things that NO other occupation, and NO other parents could be asked to do.
Fast forward to 2011, I was once again living in a new city/province, and my step-dad was about to be deployed. Typhoon Nesat had a devastating effect on the Philippines and Canadian troops were deployed. For me, this meant another Christmas my mom wouldn’t put up the Christmas tree because her partner wasn’t home to celebrate.
One of the things I remember most about having a parent in the military is the time they weren’t present. Always away doing things for other people but it felt like they were never there for my mom and I.
Looking back now, I am very proud of my parents and their service to our beautiful country. There aren’t many people who could do what they do and there are people all over the world that are thankful.
I wear a poppy with pride the entirety of November because I know I come from a line of giving, and courageous family members. It is easy to forget what the poppy symbolizes if you have no personal experience with the military… but for those of us that have, it’s impossible to forget.