(S) As part of this year’s Veterans’ Week activities, the National Veterans’ Week Speakers Program will once again offer Canadians of all ages an opportunity to learn and interact with current and past members of the Canadian Armed Forces through virtual video presentations.
Master Warrant Officer Jeremy Buckingham of the Canadian Forces Fire and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Academy, joins us to tell us more about his experience participating in the program and what Veterans’ Week means to him.
Thanks for joining us today, Master Warrant Officer Buckingham.
(MWO) Thank you, Shelley, for allowing me to be part of this.
(S) To start, could you tell us why this program is so important to you and why you participate?
(MWO) In 2012, I really started to look at Rememberance Day differently and really put into perspective the services and sacrifice which were put forward by our veterans, past and present. And seeing how the years are moving on, our veterans are getting older. So, I really want to help out and help us remember their stories.
(S) So speaking of stories, are there any specific stories or memories you have of past years speaking to Canadians that you could share with us?
(MWO) The first time I volunteered to do the Veterans' Speakers Program, I volunteered for any venue they were willing to offer me. I spoke at a retirement home in downtown Vancouver. I gave them all the options that I could provide, and I told them that I'd be completely flexible, and for whatever they'd like. So, for their service, I carried the Canadian flag and led in a bunch of the retirees into the ceremony. They sat down and they had me read a beautiful poem. It wasn't In Flander's Fields. I wish I could remember, but it was such a touching poem. And looking at the veterans and them tearing up, I teared up as well... And just remembering that they were young once. And I couldn't even imagine what they've seen. So it really brought things to me, the service before self.
(S) For those perhaps unsure how to commemorate, what would be your advice to them?
(MWO) Wearing that poppy definitely, coming up to Rememberance Day, for the 11th month, the 11th day, 11th hour, take that two minutes to actually reflect on what a wonderful country you live in, and the history, which has gone into the country, of service and sacrifice that our members have put forward. I think that would be the best thing to do. Just take those two minutes and actually reflect. Do some research, perhaps.
(S) I want to thank you for sharing your passion, your stories, and speaking to us about the program today.
(MWO) Thank you. Thank you so much.