May 14 was one of the few times 98-year-old Reg Harrison left his home in the last two months.
It’s been a few decades, but he used to consider himself a reasonably good pilot.
“Well, the first time I saw the Snowbirds fly, I came to the conclusion that I’m really not a very good pilot after all. So I’m always amazed thrilled when I see the Snowbirds,” Harrison said.
He was part of the first 431 squadron during the Second World War as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
That squadron number is currently held by the Snowbirds.
One of the current pilots is from Saskatoon and said they try to show the skill, professionalism and teamwork of the air force in every performance.
“When we find out that there’s people down there who have a personal connection to that and are inspired by that, it definitely makes our performances more meaningful to us,” Maj. Regan Wickett told Global News.
Harrison’s plane went down four times during the war.
Now he’s affectionately been given the nickname “Crash.”
Harrison said he reminisces about his time in Europe whenever he sees the Snowbirds perform.
“It brings back a lot of memories for me because when you get to my age — I’m 98 years old — you have a lot of time to reflect,” he said.
In 2018, Harrison was named an honourary member of the Snowbirds for his military service.