Every time her son went off to serve, Fern Lenihan worried. But she was always proud of him and his now 15 years in the Canadian military.
Lenihan was recognized on Remembrance Day as the Silver Cross Mother. She laid a wreath on behalf of all mothers who have had lost children in the service of the country.
“It’s a very special moment. My son is in the military, he has received many awards and commendations, and today is a special day,” said Lenihan. “He is back in Canada, but training again and I’m not sure if he’s going overseas or not.”
Her son has served four tours of duty including Kabul, Afghanistan and the Golan Heights in the Middle East.
“You’re terrified all the time,” said Lenihan, describing how she felt when he went overseas. “You don’t know what is going to happen. It’s a war zone. But I am very proud of him, he’s a fantastic person who’s done wonderful things for our country.”
Victor Mulhall, 97, was recognized two-fold at the ceremony as both a veteran of the Second World War and as a retired RCMP officer, the oldest living retired RCMP member in Canada.
He’s quick to point out he only served with the RCMP for three years. The Second World War cut his time as a Mountie short and in 1940 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was in England from 1940 to 1945 and flew two tours with Bomber Command, surviving 55 sorties.
Through tears he reflected on his friends who were killed along the way.
“It’s a sad day, a very sad day,” said Mulhall.
He met his wife during the war. She was also in the air force. She died last year and for Remembrance Day, Mulhall wore a medal she was awarded in her memory.
For one last time, people packed into the Red Deer Arena to honour those who served in the military for Remembrance Day. Standing room only, as has become the norm.
Next year the arena will be torn down, moving the ceremony to another location.
Rev. Gary Sinclair told the crowd about his experiences as an American Vietnam veteran who came home and felt ignored. It wasn’t until he moved to Saskatchewan and a Lion’s Club recognized his service by raising an American flag across from the Canadian flag.
“It was the first time I felt at home,” he said.
Sinclair was part of a large ceremony put on by the Red Deer Legion that included the 78th Field Battery, the RCMP in their Red Serge, Red Deer Emergency Services, Air, Navy and Army Cadets, local Cub and Scout groups and services clubs.
While the large ceremony was taking place at the arena, the Korean Veterans Association held their own ceremony at the Red Deer Cenotaph on Ross Street.