I met an old friend the other day while taking a lunch time stroll along the trail that runs alongside Rennie’s River. While I hadn’t laid eyes on Owen Myers in about seven years, I instantly recognized his smile. We hugged, chatted, got caught up and talked old times. Owen, a lawyer by day, had the beautiful spirit of an adventurer. I never knew the man who donned a suit and tie in the courtroom, only the spirited sea captain who ran Coastal Safari, a tourism business in my outport home of Harbour Mille.
While I could have easily spent the afternoon getting reacquainted, I did have a job to return to. We exchanged updated contact information, said our goodbyes, hugged once again and went our separate ways. Before I returned to the office, I sent him an email that simply read; ‘Blessings.’ He sent one back almost instantly; ‘Ditto.’ Owen died two nights later.
Serving in the military
Life is short. That fact is nothing new, but sometimes it truly hits home as a raw reminder. While ‘Dead?!? Gone?!? I just saw him/her the other day’ encounters happen from time to time, imagine what it’s like for someone serving in the military, or being one of the someones who dearly love those who do.
Some of the stories inside the pages of this very special Herald demonstrate that. This week’s inspiration, Val Careen, was a man who dedicated his life to volunteering for the betterment of others. Cancer took him from those he loved and from those he served much too quickly. Korean War Vet Merrill Reid shares how flying bullets and death became as commonplace as eating one’s dinner. There was no fear. W.O. Clayton Fleet missed the births of both his children and MCpl. Andrew Cox pens postcards home to stay in touch with his young daughter while serving this country away from home soil.
As the mother of a son who serves our county, I understand the potential for sacrifice all too well. My son, at the age of 22, has been away almost as much as he’s been home since enlisting in the Air Force Reserves.
While I feel blessed he’s still in school, the time will no doubt come when special occasions are missed and a scatter postcard from some overseas destination also becomes our family’s reality. And you know what? I’ll proudly face that challenge if and when it comes, because the real sacrifice comes from those who serve, and the only job of those who love them is to bravely accept whatever comes.
Newfoundlanders have given their lives – literally – serving this country of ours, bravely fighting for freedom since the very beginning of the First World War. The fact that they continue to do so no doubt makes us all very proud, so take a moment and reach out to those who sacrifice and say thank you, very sincerely, for your service, while there’s time. Because you know what? As I sadly discovered on a trail around Rennie’s River recently, life is truly much too short.
Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]