Richard MacIntosh is packing for a once in a lifetime trip.
The 85-year-old Comox man and Canadian veteran is headed to Belgium with his son Rod to commemorate the end of the First World War there and retrace the footsteps of thousands of Canadian soldiers who fought, including Richard’s father who served in the First World War and lost an arm there.
“I’m really happy to be going and honoured. I really feel I have a connection,” Richard said.
Three generations of men in the family have been members of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry: Richard’s father, then Richard himself and his son Rod.
Rod said even as a boy, he knew he would follow in his father’s footsteps.
“A place like that has always held a lot of gravity in our family,” Rod said.
While he did return from the First World War, Richard’s father paid a huge price during the war and his brother also died. So Rod and Richard will visit that grave as they honour the many Canadian soldiers who never came home.
Richard never got to travel to Belgium with his dad, who died at the age of 60 and shared very few details about his time in the war.
“He would enjoy the fact that I’m going. I know he would,” Richard said.
“It really comes home to me on November 11th, the sacrifices that were made by members of my family and many other people.”
The father and son also plan to reflect on their bond and make memories they will take with them forever.
“It will be a very weighty day and weighty time over there,” Rod said.
Rod and Richard leave for Europe on Tuesday. They will join a group of 50 Canadian, all involved by Veterans Affairs Canada.