Koby Kobialko and Clancy Keoughan are counting down to Remembrance Day.
“We are stopping and thinking about people who never came back and those who did,” said Keoughan. “We are taking the time in a quiet dignified way.”
Keoughan, has spent time in schools at Remembrance Day events and in the community. His most memorable Nov. 11 was in Wetaskiwin, Alta. in 2007. He was there training for a tour in Afghanistan.
He travelled on a bus with other military personnel to all the senior centres in the town to visit veterans who couldn’t get to community gatherings.
“They had such big smiles on their faces,” Keoughan said as his eyes lit up. “They live in one room and some of their most prized possessions were their metals.”
This year Keoughan will spend Remembrance Day at the Legion in Langford.
“I always go and sit with the older gentlemen, sometimes (Nov. 11) is the first time people really listen to them,” he said. “I know someday I’ll be one of those gentlemen.”
For Keoughan it doesn’t matter where you stop and remember, it’s just important that you do.
A sentiment echoed by Kobialko.
“We are here to remember those that lost their lives for our freedom and the heros that are still in our military and protect our freedom,” said Kobialko.
Freedom is a strong word for Kobialko, one that can cause him to tear up on occasion.
In 1990 he was in Holland at the 45th Anniversary of Liberation of Holland ceremony. As he stood with the Honour Guard, two girls, 11 and six, put a handmade flower in his riffle. The flower had a small note attached.
“It said, ‘Thank you for our freedom,’” Kobialko said wiping at tears. Ever since that day Kobialko has carried that flower and note with him when he’s in uniform.
Kobialko, 63, counted down to his 18th birthday so he could join the military.
“I could have joined when I was 17 with my father’s permission, but I wanted to do it on my own,” Kobialko said.
He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1967 in Ottawa. For the next 18 years he was posted all across Canada spanning from Quebec to Haida Gwaii.
He travelled to Cyprus in 1983 as a peace keeper with the United Nations and served with NATO in Germany from 1986 to 1990.
He retired in 1992 as a warrant officer and is still active with the Colour Guard and as treasurer with the West Shore Poppy Fund.
Sooke resident Keoughan, 47, has also dedicated his life to the military.
He joined in 1983 straight out of high school in New Brunswick.
“I have been posted all over the country,” he said adding he toured in Croatia, Bosnia and most recently Afganistan in 2008.
He is scheduled to retire in February and then become a student at the University of
Victoria studying Environmental Occupational Health and Safety.
n Metchosin: 10:45 a.m. Scouts and Girl Guides of Canada march from the Metchosin fire hall to the cenotaph at St. Mary the Virgin Church, 4354 Metchosin Rd.
n Langford: 10:35 a.m., Parade from Langford Legion to Veterans Memorial Park, Veterans Memorial Parkway and Goldstream Avenue.
n Send us your Remembrance Day photos to share with our readers online and in print. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.