War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

for father's day, some words from a soldier's father

for father’s day I’d like to publish the words of a soldier’s father. soldier’s father contacted me a few weeks ago to say that his son had seen me in the gunner’s turret of a LAV on the live-fire Ex. at Suffield. soldier’s father said that reading my site was his “intel” into the world of his son’s and that his son would come home from Ex. and be surprised at the details his father would know, e.g., the dreaded GI of Suffield… this heartens me greatly knowing that my work gives some comfort to a parent… as the mother of a 12 year old beginning to set herself out into the wider world, I cannot imagine what it means to have a child go willingly, eagerly, to war, and yet, having met these young men and women, I have to honestly say that with very few exceptions, they are following their hearts, their passions, for something they perceive to be greater than themselves… who am I to question them? that is for others to do, not I. my job is to witness them, to record them, to try and understand them…

and it’s a funny thing being the rather strange entity known as “war poet” or “P.L.” (as in Poet Laureate), as Sgt. Major calls me… and being sited/sighted by soldiers on Ex. I’m certainly a curiosity, as in “who the hell is she and why the hell do we have to look after her… again!?” (special thanks to whomever had to clean the post-Gastro tent I occupied… eeeeek!!!)… and some soldiers seem to understand what I’m doing immediately, and some tolerate me, and a few put up with me because they are told to do so, and others go out of their way to look after me (thank you Cpl. Angel)… still, I am grateful for the door they have opened for me into their lives… and in thanks, if I can give at least one parent or spouse or child of a soldier an insight into this other world that so captivates their beloved, then I guess I’ve done my job… happy father’s day soldier’s dad! you have so very much to be proud of…

and happy father’s day all you fathers and mothers of soldiers… here’s a word from one of your brothers who held the babe in arms…


Somewhere out in the roughly 2,700 square kilometres of prairie encompassed by the Canadian Forces training area in Suffield, AB, my son is at this moment one of 4,500 Canadians involved in a massive military exercise. Next month, he’ll head north to Wainwright, AB, for another few weeks in the field. M is training to head to Afghanistan later this year. The training is intensive and realistic, and I’m glad. I want him as ready as it’s possible to be when he does deploy, and I know he will be. That’s very reassuring.

Of course, no 21st-century 20-year-old, even if he is out in the middle of a very big empty, is going to be without his cell phone, and it’s an interesting experience to be chatting with your son as an armoured vehicle roars past him. I try not to think about his cell phone bill, but the size of mine after he’d been out west for a while left me feeling faint, which led in part to the article on page 51, which I hope helps to shave a few dollars off your own bill.

Given M’s upcoming tour in Afghanistan, I am perhaps affected more profoundly by certain images than I might otherwise be. In March, I was driving the stretch of road from Trenton, ON, to Toronto that’s come to be called the Highway of Heroes when a flurry of red and white flags suddenly made me realize that I was about 30 minutes ahead of a repatriation motorcade. The sight of so many people crowding the overpasses, waiting to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers and their families, left me solemn and reflective. I even found myself driving much more slowly, as if driving quickly would be rude, like running and shouting in church.

So when Cathy Kehoe of Oshawa, ON, wrote to say how moving it was to be among those on the overpass, I knew I had to read the poem she’d written about the experience. Having read it, I knew it had to be published. It’s on page 73.[of his magazine Good Times} To the many who have gone out to those overpasses, thank you from those who would be there but can’t be. May you never have reason to go there again.

M. Lewis, editor, Good Times Magazine

1 Comment (Closed)


Very moving! No man should depart the earth before his son, may it be so with every father whose son goes to fight a war; indeed, for every father who has a son. I hope this gentleman finds comfort whilst his son is away, and joy when he returns.

Jun 22 2009 · 12:51

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled for father's day, some words from a soldier's father. It was posted here on June 21, 2009.


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