Naming these forgotten soldiers

ceremonie-cloturee-envolee-bouquet-ballons(Waterloo) Canada Day took on special meaning Friday at Waterloo, that was then unveiled a plaque dedicated to the memory of soldiers having committed suicide after their deployment.

Recognizing that right, just as the fallen soldiers, the Royal Canadian Legion Waterloo is the ambassador of a cause that touches many families’ military forgotten. ” These families were more to attend the ceremony, including that of Roxtonais Frederic Couture.

“I, the mother of the soldier Fredéeric Couture, I do not want it to be forgotten. Because his name is nowhere on a plaque in the Canadian Army, “said Linda Lagimonière before all, thanking the legion of Waterloo for his initiative. “Imagine the emptiness, pain, when your child falls into oblivion, especially if he gave his life for his country, for his city and for its Quebec,” she stated with emotion.

Recall that the soldier Couture had lost part of his left leg after stepping on a landmine in December 2006, during a mission in Afghanistan. Less than a year after his return to the family home in Roxton Pond, it was suicide. “Yes, the post-traumatic shock it exists. Both in the civilian and in the military, “says Linda Lagimoniere.

Frederic Couture had received no counseling after returning from Afghanistan. “It should not be a taboo, it is a malaise,” argues the mother of the deceased soldier.

The ceremony ended with the flight of white balloons, symbols of peace to the soul of the soldiers of the suicide who are paid homage.

Towards recognition
According to a recent report in the Globe and Mail, at least 62 Canadian soldiers and veterans have taken their own lives after serving in Afghanistan. This is more than a third of the dead soldiers on a mission. “Even those who have committed suicide there have been eligible for military ceremonies. But for those who have committed suicide here after the mission in Afghanistan, there is nothing, “said Lise Charron, the founder of the organization Honor our Canadian Soldiers (hocs).

The latter approached the parents of soldier Couture for they encourage other families to open up about the suicide of their child. With her husband, they participated in a gathering of parents living across Canada similar to their grief. “They all spoke English but we understood each other,” recalls Ms. Lagimonière very well, the experience has marked.

The Roxtonais hope the legion of Waterloo will lead to other legions in his wake. “It’s a beginning. We wish it could be amplified and at one point, the army will also recognize, “said Yvan Couture.

The month of October 2016 could be the bearer of good news about it, because General Romeo Dallaire has taken steps with the Canadian Armed Forces. “He, he finds it important that those (…) who committed suicide here are also recognized. Because they went too on the ground, “explains Linda Lagimonière.

“We’re not even invited to the Remembrance Day!” Is not explained the mother of Frédéric Couture. She hopes that mention is made of the name of his son, to be recognized alongside all the other soldiers who died in combat.

SOS project
Photo Frédéric Couture was placed on a candle, like that of 14 other soldiers having committed suicide Friday at Waterloo. In the center, the commemorative plaque which included a soldier’s helmet, boots and a poppy. The date of February 21 is etched there: it will be the date of commemoration of suicide Soldiers in Canada.

When initiated the project of suicide Soldiers (SOS), Lise Charron chose February for the celebration does not conflict with other causes. “Ultimately, it was the month of awareness of mental health,” said the organizer, who immediately made the connection with the post-traumatic syndrome experienced by soldiers returning from war.

The first candlelight ceremony it organized February 21, 2013 in Pembroke, Ontario, paid tribute to three soldiers. “The first three moms have authorized me to name. The goal was always to find a solution for PTSD (note: post-traumatic stress disorder). I put it on Facebook, it made snowball! “Says the founder, dedicated full-time to this mission of moral support to families who have lost a military loved by suicide.

In September 2013, Ms. Charron organized the first unveiling of a plaque in memory of five soldiers suicide at the national cemetery in Ottawa. In 2016, the families of 15 soldiers willing to talk about the death of their child.

“I want plates wherever we have the right to appoint a soldier,” says Lise Charron, determined.

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