Carrying heavy grief and a wreath to the Cobble Hill Cenotaph Saturday, active and retired RCMP members paid tribute to Burnaby Cst. Shaelyn Yang.
The 31-year-old promising young mountie was stabbed to death in the line of duty this week, her name now added to a growing monument to service members killed on Canadian soil.
“I was heartbroken because part of my family I lost that day,” said Karen Adam, who served 28 years in the RCMP, before retiring.
“It’s going to impact so many officers down the road,” said memorial organizer Bob Collins.
Canadian veteran Bob Collins started the memorial at the Cobble Hill Cenotaph nine years ago, with the goal of supporting military families, and changing the taboo surrounding suicide in veterans and service members when someone loses their battle with PTSD.
Sadly again this year, new names were added.
“It’s something we need to address. It’s very real,” said Collins. “Another 19 this year so we’re up to 196 PTSD losses,” he said.
Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor has raised a private member’s bill in Ottawa, to recognize October 22 as a National Day of Remembrance for Canadian military members killed on Canadian soil.
“Remembrance Day on November 11th, I think everyone clearly identifies with but I’m not sure the broader Canadian public is truly aware of the number of service men and women that have died on Canadian soil in peacetime,” said MacGregor.
“There’s always been the possibility that I could be amongst them,” said Canadian veteran Paul Richard
Canadian veteran Paul Richard developed severe PTSD after serving in Croatia and Bosnia and now relies on his service dog to get him through daily, haunting triggers.
“It just comes back, yeah. You never know when. So, his job, in a nutshell, is to try and keep me calm,” said 62-year-old Richard.
This memorial raises awareness and support for people living with PTSD, as the pain of being human while doing very hard jobs hits home.