Canadians have been called to war numerous times ranging from South Africa in 1899, through the two World Wars, then Korea and Afghanistan. One hundred and sixteen thousand Canadians have given their lives for peace and it’s why we remember them on Nov. 11.

Every community celebrates their courage and sacrifice in different ways and just outside the main gates of 19 Wing Comox, the Comox Air Force Museum does it as well as any place in Canada.

“This museum is dedicated to preserving the memory and celebrating the story of Canada’s sons and daughters over the last century who have defended this country and our way of life through the application of air power,” said Museum Program Manager Jon Ambler, Col (Ret’d).

There are stories of great skill, bravery, courage and too often great sacrifice.

“This diorama was built by the McPhee family of the Comox Valley and they built it to celebrate the legacy and sacrifice of Joseph Noel McPhee. He was a young pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force and he was a Lancaster Bomber pilot and he was killed in March 1945 while flying,” said Ambler during a tour of the museum.

Jon Ambler is a former Wing Commander at 19 Wing and an encyclopedia when it comes to Canada’s war history. He has seen the ebb and flow of interest Canadians have in Remembrance Day and those who have served Canada.

“Since our time in Afghanistan, there was a spike in appreciation for what our men and women in uniform are doing and you would see things like the Highway of Heroes as the casualties were brought home, but I feel, or fear might be a better word,¬†that that will taper off now,” he added.

Which is something he tries to change with every visitor and school tour through the museum, reminding even young elementary students of the battles won and lost and the lives given for our freedom.

Dean Stoltz