‘Just remember us, it’s all we ask’: Saskatoon veteran

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WATCH: Remembrance Day often stirs up the question: "How should we remember?" A Cold War veteran is helping the Saskatoon community answer that question – Nov 11, 2021

As part of his effort to preserve the country’s military history, Cold War veteran Kevin Hicks is sharing details from his career in the British army, where he earned a British Empire Medal.

Read more: Small Remembrance Day ceremony held at refurbished Saskatoon cenotaph

“It’s from the Queen. It’s an honour,” Hicks explained. “And it was for something I did out in Cypress. I did a specialist mission which lasted over two years.”

Hicks also served with the Canadian military.

“I was sent to Berlin in 1976, but I didn’t stay in Berlin,” he said. “I was sent to the checkpoint area … and one of our jobs was to patrol through the Russian zone, all the way up to Berlin.”

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He was stationed in Berlin and Cypress and said he saw much of the action one might find in a history book, in real-time.

“I look back and I think, ‘Wow. We actually did that? That’s something,’” he said. “And patrolling the Berlin Wall and doing all of the Berlin stuff as well … it kind of blows your mind. I’m a little piece of history, I suppose.”

Read more: Belongings of celebrated RCAF airman found abandoned in attic

Now, Hicks is bringing that history to life at the Saskatoon Museum of Military Artifacts as a professional historical interpreter.

He is passionate about ensuring new generations understand the level of sacrifice for those who didn’t make it home from war, and for those who did.

“You don’t walk away from those terrorist situations the same way you walked in,” he said. “You are different for the rest of your lifetime.”

“We’re afraid that when we go, nobody will remember us or they will forget us.”

His favourite part of the job is speaking with students and answering their questions about his own experience and the experiences of the thousands of Canadians who went to war.

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“I actually got asked this by a student recently,” he mused. “What are we supposed to do on Remembrance Day?”

Read more: Hundreds gathered across Eastern Ontario cities for Remembrance Day

He said the question made him recall a conversation he’d had with another veteran who had served in the First World War at the Battle of the Somme.

“He looked me in the eyes and he said, ‘We’ll all be dead soon, Kevin, and we’re afraid that when we go nobody will remember us, or they will forget us. But you’re going to keep us alive, aren’t you?’ And I said, ‘Oh for sure.’ So that’s what I said to the student the other day. I said, ‘On Remembrance Day, do me a favour, just remember us. It’s all we ask. Remember us.’”

Click to play video: 'War veteran on service, importance of Remembrance Day' War veteran on service, importance of Remembrance Day
War veteran on service, importance of Remembrance Day – Nov 11, 2021

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