Derek Doubleday Arboretum
My husband and I went for a walk together and we stopped at a memorial park. We were admiring the gardens and noticed the trees looked quite new, and that there was a large memorial in the center.
The memorial structure commemorating Canadian soldiers lost in Afghanistan opened on Nov. 11, 2012. It was my first time there and I recalled that I had a cousin that lost his life just out of Kandahar. His name was on the list.
March 20 – Cpl. Darren James Fitzpatrick, 21, died in hospital from wounds sustained in an IED blast March 6 during a foot patrol west of Kandahar city. Fitzpatrick, from Prince George, B.C., was a member of 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton. He was on his first operational tour and had been treated at the base in Kandahar and a medical centre in Germany before being flown to the Edmonton hospital where he died.
I can not imagine what his family as well as the families of all the people lost in the war must be going through. Since he was my third cousin, from a town I have not lived in for years, I didn’t really know him. I am proud to say that he was my cousin, and that he gave his life so others could have freedom. I pray he is in a better place and that his family will be with him again one day.
They planted trees to remember their lives, and they were birch trees, that I remember from my childhood growing up north.
He and many other men and women were not given a second chance in life. Finding this so unexpectedly really made me think about so many things. How I took my life for granted for so many years, how hard it has been for all the families that have lost a loved one and last, how I can make my life count, how we can all make our lives count, while we still have time to make a difference and really help someone?
So today, I ask, that we take a minute to remember our fallen soldiers, their families and to think about our own lives, what can we give, what can we do, to leave the world a little better than it was when we arrived!