For one day a year we take the time to reflect, we take the time to remember and pay tribute to all those that serve and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
One day is hardly enough.
In a world of instant gratification, notifications, entitlement, lack of compassion and empathy, it seems at times that we sometimes forget the things that matter most.
A generational gap with regards to our knowledge and appreciation of the past and history exists and unfortunately continues to widen.
We all take so many things for granted, some would say it’s human natural, but those that serve and put a uniform on every day take nothing for granted. Every day is special, every day matters. Every day means something to those and their families that serve. Moncton’s Francois Vidal has put on a uniform for three decades. This Remembrance Day has extra meaning for him and his family because it will be his last in uniform.
“Since a young age, I always knew that I wanted to have a job that I would be able to help or protect people,” said Vidal.
“My father was a policeman and a uniform was something that I was used to, so I decided to join the military. As a soldier, most of your time is spend on training, but when you get a chance to represent Canada on a foreign or domestic operation , that’s when you fully see the effect that you can have on the world and there is no better feeling then knowing that you were able to make a difference in someone life.”
The sacrifices made by military families is truly extraordinary.
“My daughters grew up with me being away most of the time and I never express any interest in following in my footsteps, so I was really surprised and honoured when my oldest decided to joined and become a Medical technician with the Canadian Armed Forces.”
“I don’t regret joining 34 years ago and very proud of everything I was able to accomplish.”
“It was a honour to have served Canada and to have represented the country overseas.”
Vidal and his wife Nadine Cormier like many other families across the country feel a connection with other military families and hockey families. They decided a long time ago to give back to the game and become a billet family.
It’s all about team and family in the military and the game of hockey.
“There’s is a lot of similarities between the military and any sports team. Training , team spirit and camaraderie are a big part of our everyday.”
“We are two organizations that can’t be successful if team work isn’t one of the main focus. We train and we support each other during the high and the lows, we all push in the same direction to achieve success.”
“The bond that is made between soldiers is something that lasts forever and no matter the years between seeing each other or the distance separating us from each other. It’s always like we saw each other yesterday and that brotherhood is automatically rekindled,” said a reflective Vidal.
“Remembrance Day is very important and special for me. It’s my opportunity to honour the ones that have made the ultimate sacrifice and to remember the friends that I have lost over my career.”
“I believe that you must never forget what has been done for the liberty that we enjoy everyday and we need to make sure that future generation are thought about the man and women that have sacrificed to ensure we have that liberty.”
This Remembrance Day might be his last in uniform, but two of his passions are coming together one last time.
The Moncton Wildcats have invited Captain Vidal to drop the ceremonial puck at tonight’s game versus the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
“I’m trying to get mentally prepared to hang up my boots, I feel privileged to have been ask to conduct the puck drop during the Wildcats veterans nights.”
“It’s a honour to be recognized, but also a honour to represent all other members of the Canadian Armed Forces that sacrificed so much everyday.”
Vidal has never lost sight of all those that have supported him through his life and military career.
“Family is everything to me and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of my goals if it wasn’t for all of my family members.”
“My wife and kids have made so much sacrifices over the years and I’m so grateful for everything they have done. Almost 10 years ago we decided to give back to the community and the city that we loved and became a billet family for the Wildcats. We had the opportunity to open our door to some amazing boys that have because members of our own family. We still communicate frequently with all of them and we are now able to see the men they are becoming and be part of their family.”
“I don’t even know where to start said Nadine Cormier when asked about her husband’s passion to serve.
“Being a soldier is Frank’s identity. His entire life as been devoted to be the best soldier, and the best leader for his men. A lot of younger soldiers look up to him, as a mentor.”
I’ve have some of them come up to me to share how great of a man he his, at his job, but also in general. He helped a lot of them along the way with their careers. To be a Chief Warrant Officer and the RSM Regimental Sergent Major of the Artillery School was his pride and joy. It was a huge honour for him,” Cormier said.
“Frank is a soldier. In his life and in his heart. But above all, he is a great husband and dad. Always putting me and his daughters first. Making sure we’re happy is his priority. Being away as much as he had to be was hard for him. Missing out on important events wasn’t easy for anyone. That’s some of the sacrifices we all had to make. Now that his career is almost over, I wouldn’t change anything and being at his side for “almost” all of it has been an honor for me and for him, that means more time for another passion of his… golf!”
“Hockey has always been part of my family and will always be. We plan on continuing our partnership with the Wildcats in the future and to continue to provide support and mentorship to future hockey players,” said Vidal.
With retirement on the horizon, Vidal is anxious to get further involved within the game.
“I’m very interested in the game and would like to get into scouting. Now that I will have lots of time on my hands, I don’t see any better way than to spend it in an arena.”
“For Francois to be there for the puck drop tonight, in uniform, is a great honour,” said Cormier.
“Hockey and other sports have always been part of his life, since he was a kid. He played for the Forces and he even played for the Canadian team while serving in Afghanistan so with this being his last Remembrance Day wearing his uniform is going be very hard and emotional,” she added.
Every day is special.
Every day means something and we should never take anything for granted. On this Remembrance Day we honour and pay tribute to everyone that have served and continues serve our country.
One day is hardly enough.
Today we honour Captain Francois Vidal, his family and countless military families across the country.
Today we say thank you for everything you do every day to keep us safe.