Wikwemikong Afghan veterans reflect on Remembrance Day

by Robin Burridge
WIKWEMIKONG—Afghanistan veterans, cousins Canadian Armed Forces Corporal Daniel Trudeau and retired Corporal Ian Trudeau were honoured at the traditional Wikwemikong powwow held this spring in South Bay. With Remembrance Day just around the corner, The Expositor spoke to the two young veterans about the meaning of November 11 to them.
Corporal Daniel Trudeau grew up in Wikwemikong where he graduated from Wasse-Abin High School in 2005 before enrolling in the Canadian Forces and serving in the 3rd Royal Canadian Regiment in Petawawa. As an infantry member, he spent an eight month tour in Afghanistan. Corporal Trudeau now resides in Petawawa where The Expositor reached him at his home.
Corporal Trudeau said that he was inspired to join the Canadian Forces by the Wikwemikong elders in his community as he was growing up. Their stories, strength and heart made him want to join the forces and serve his country as they had.
He said that Remembrance Day to him is a chance to reflect on what those elders and many other comrades have done for this nation.
“Remembrance Day to me is to honour fallen comrades that I fought alongside with and the fallen comrades that came before me,” stated Corporal Trudeau. “It is to honour their ultimate sacrifice and never forget them.”
He said that he hopes future generations understand what all veterans have done to keep Canadians safe and that the Canadian public continues to remember the sacrifices that have been made for them.
“As a member of the Canadian Forces, I hope that the Canadian public remember on November 11 and on every other day, that our role evolves around the world and that we are still there for them to defend this country.”
His cousin Ian Trudeau enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2004. He was stationed in Oromocto, New Brunswick in 2005 after being awarded his sniper coin and badge. In September of 2007, he was deployed to Afghanistan for a tour until August. Upon his return, he was awarded a Campaign Star Medal for Task Force 1-07. In 2008, he transferred to Petawawa where he received his promotion to Corporal. After six years in the Canadian Forces, Mr. Trudeau retired and returned to his home on Manitoulin where he is a special constable with the Wikwemikong Police Force.
“Remembrance Day is a time to reflect on what our nation’s veterans have done for everyone and the people that I served with,” said Mr. Trudeau.
Though Mr. Trudeau said that while serving in Afghanistan he did not lose any members of his own company, his sister company lost their whole crew.
“Remembrance Day means a lot to me,” he explained. “Joining the Canadian Forces was always something I wanted to do when I was growing up, but it was different than what I thought it would be. It was hard adjusting back to civilian life. I don’t know if people understand all the challenges that face our nation’s veterans and members of the Canadian Forces.”
He said that the news Canadian public see on the television are the major events that Canada’s solders fight or have fought in, but that they do not see the aftermath the fighting has on the solders.
“On Remembrance Day people need to just remember,” added Mr. Trudeau. “Remember all the sacrifices that Canadian soldiers have made for them, big and small, throughout time to keep our nation safe.”
The sacrifices that both Corporal Daniel Trudeau and Ian Trudeau made for Canada and their communities were honored at the Wikwemikong powwow this past summer when the two gentlemen were presented with sacred eagle feathers.