Monday, September 22, 2014

Military Monday: A weekend of Heroes.

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to participate with my husband in a ceremony
Hanging with a hero-Stocky and I
before our flight in the Cessna
commemorating the great Second World War air battle known as the Battle of Britain. Being an ex-Air Force officer and and an RCAF wife, this ceremony is an important one, as it represents the first commitment of the RCAF to combat in WW II. I was part of a contingent which travelled north to Port Hardy--a small community on the northeastern shore of Vancouver Island to participate in the ceremony there. It was a wonderful weekend of fun, camaraderie, sight-seeing and seafood, paired with some serious moments of reflection. The local Air Force Association Squadron welcomed us with open arms, and much fun was had by all. I even had the opportunity to take a flight in a Cessna aircraft over the Queen Charlotte Strait at low enough altitude to see breaching humpback whales and several pods of orcas.

One of the members of our contingent was (and is) a real live Air Force hero. And even better, he was accompanied by his wife of 63 years...who I also think deserves the title of hero for her many years of service to our country behind the scenes.

James Francis "Stocky" EdwardsCMDFC & BarDFMCD (born June 5, 1921 – ) may not have fought in the Battle of Britain, but he joined the fighting soon afterward, and is one Canada's few remaining WW II flying aces. "Toni", born Alice Antonio, also has a military history, having worn the uniform in the '40s, working in both Communications and the nursing field. 

Young and dapper Stocky Edwards
Although I've only known them for a short time, Stocky and Toni Edwards have made a HUGE impression on me. Humble, kind, selfless and warm-hearted, they are the very essence of the perfect military couple. Seriously. They have been through it all. Postings far from home, long separations and deployments--they lived all of this before I was even a twinkle in my parents eyes.

Toni Edwards in her military days
(From elinorflorence.com).
But these two are so obviously in love, that they have persevered through all of their difficulties and are still living life to the fullest. They are so positive, so happy to be together that I can't help but think, I want what they have. They are true role models for today's military couples, having recognized the military lifestyle for what it was and embraced it--and they continue to embrace it as supporters to 19 Wing Comox and the RCAF. More than 60 years after their marriage, they attend as many of the local events as they can, arriving together and leaving arm in arm.


I'm so fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with this lovely couple. They are true heroes.

You can find out more about the Battle of Britain on Wikipedia here, and about Stocky and Toni Edwards here and here.

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Want to talk about the life of a 'dependent'? Do you cringe at the very mention of the word (as I occasionally do...part of why my book is so titled...)? Join me TOMORROW for a twitter chat at 12:00 PST, using #dependent to join in! Hope to hear from you!

Brenda

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