Always, I remember

By DAWN BOOTH, Managing Editor of Connect Weekly

Vincent Votour, Veteran of the Korean War, and my personal hero.

Vincent Votour, Veteran of the Korean War, and my personal hero.

Remembrance Day is a very important day in our lives, as we think of all the ones who fought for our freedom.

I think of my grandfather, Vincent Votour the First. He was a Korean War Veteran… I wish I could get into full elaborate details about his journey through war, but I can’t because I never got the full story. (He most likely thought I was too young to hear about it.)

And now, a grown woman, the journalist in me sits here wishing I knew every moment of his war experience. I wish I could share it from his own words. Sadly, I never did the interview with him – not even while I was studying.

Next September will mark a decade since he passed.

The story I know is that, when at war, my grandfather ran over a land mine and the result left him with an artificial disc replacement and metal plate in his head… these shared words of his, I do remember.

I remember him telling me about the people at a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit who saved his life.

I remember him telling me how if it weren’t for them that he, nor I, would be here today.

I remember my grandfather taking part in my hometown’s Santa Claus parade; dressed up in uniform with medals a blazing. He looked so sharp. Parade Day was always very important to him, as he got to march with his fellow veterans.

I remember how proud I was always to see him lay the wreath during the ceremonies held at my elementary school, the Eganville District Public.

I remember first learning how to play the trumpet and how proud I was to show him that I learned how to play: “The Last Post.”

I remember…

After war, my grandfather – aka Papa Vince – spent the majority of his life as a trucker. He was the kind of man who took no guff. Instead of giving hugs, he would make sure my brothers and I would have our heads screwed on tight. He had a tough exterior, but deep down, he had the kindest of hearts.

Because of him, the Royal Canadian Legion was a big part of my life growing up, with my Papa as a member and my parents actively volunteering at Branch #353 in Eganville, Ontario.

Today, I think of him in Fort McMurray, at home. But also, every time I go to our local #165 Branch. This is the importance of the Royal Canadian Legion. It’s a place we can all go, not just on November 11, but every day to remember. The Legion will be hosting a Cenotaph service at 10:50 a.m., and organizers welcome all residents to join them throughout the morning and afternoon on Remembrance Day.

To think, our Legion Hall was once in jeopardy. Thankfully not the case today, or ever again, because the Legion is not only a local icon – it’s a National icon. It’s my grandfather’s icon.

Join me on November 11 to remember. Wear a poppy. Go to one – or all – of our ceremony celebrations. I hope to partake in the wreath laying ceremony at the Legion with my children, or at very most, I will perform: “The Last Post” in my living room, as I always do.

– Connect Weekly –