Soldiers lost to PTSD and in peacetime honoured at vigil in Cobble Hill

Soldiers lost to PTSD and in peacetime honoured at vigil in Cobble Hill

177 candles lined the Cobble Hill Cenotaph Friday morning honouring Canadian soldiers lost to PTSD and the more than 2,400 who have died on home soil since 1914.

“On Remembrance Day we remember all our military that we’ve lost in combat situations, the people that die in training exercises and PTSD are not acknowledged on Remembrance Day. They’re thought about but they’re not really acknowledged,” says Bob Collins, the organizer of the candlelight vigil.

Collins has stood guard at the cenotaph every October 22 since 2014, the day Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed while on guard duty at Canada’s National War Memorial in Ottawa.

He hopes the Canadian Government will eventually designate the day as “Canadian Armed Forces Members Day,” and he’s not the only one.

“I tried to give recognition to this day through our private member’s bill, it got wiped out in the last election but it’s something I’d like to continue participating and pursuing in the next parliament,” says Alistair MacGregor,  Member of Parliament for Cowichan, Malahat and Langford.

Veterans, legion members and the Cobble Hill community were also joined by a special guest in the sky, a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from Comox.

“It’s a shame that there’s even any stigma around it at all and the more we can allow ourselves to have the hard conversations, the more space will be created for the help and support that needs to be there for all of our citizens,” says Taylor Fance, a musician based out of Mill Bay.

Fance was approached by Bob Collins to write a song surrounding the cause this morning at the ceremony that the tribute video premiered.

“It just spoke to my heart in terms of the mental health side of things. PTSD has such a huge stigma around it and it needs to be talked about,” adds Fance.

Fance hopes to get the conversation going and end the stigma surrounding PTSD and suicide in the Canadian Military.

Hannah LepineHannah Lepine

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