Back in 1983 (is that really 25 years ago?) I graduated from high school and like most graduates going on to post secondary education, I was looking for a way pay for it all. So at my father's suggestion I looked at the Regular Officer Training Program, went in for all the tests and interviews and was surprised to get accepted. At that time I had a bunch of friends who were weekend warriors with the Reserves and my father was a career officer, so it didn't seem too foreign. So I accepted and went off to basic training, finished university (Electrical Engineering) and went off to work as a Communications and Electronics Officer (Air Force)… first in Ottawa and then in Winnipeg.
Some of the big things I learned in the military were:
- Not quitting is half the battle… you can accomplish more than you can believe if you embrace perseverance.
- The value of a good leader. In the military your boss has a lot of power over you (life and death in many cases) and you really want a good one even in peace time. A good leader inpires greatness in others.
I am thankful that I was never called upon to serve in an armed conflict. I am also so very appreciative of all the things we take for granted in this country and all the sacrifices that others have made on our behalf to make it so over the years.
While I have lost touch with many of those I knew from those days (I left in 1995), I know that some of them have continued on in their service.
On this day, my thoughts and prayers go out to those still serving in harms way and I hope you all make it back home to your family and friends. Whether you are there to make the world a better place or to serve our country, we remember.