Top News

Northern Peninsula and Labrador vets talk about Remembrance Day

Rick Reid with his daughter Nikki during Remembrance Day 2015, laying a wreath in St. Anthony.
Rick Reid with his daughter Nikki during Remembrance Day 2015, laying a wreath in St. Anthony.

Veterans of World War I, World War II and the Korean War immediately come to mind on Nov. 11. But over the past quarter century, many others have served in conflict zones.

Rick Reid, Keith Lee and Scott Budgell are three modern-day veterans.

All have retired or left the forces but all still have their memories from their time in the military. And sometimes people forget they are also veterans.

Reid is a 23-year veteran of the Army. His tours of duty included Cyprus, 1993 and Kosovo, 1999-2000. His final tour of duty was Afghanistan, 2008.

He retired as a Warrant Officer and lives in St. Anthony.

Lee, who is from Pinware, Labrador, is 32 years old. After serving for six years — including a tour in Afghanistan in 2008 — he finished up his career as a Bombardier with the first regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. He now lives in St. John’s.

Budgell served for over 32 years with the Royal Canadian Air Force, retiring as a Master Warrant Officer. He recently moved to Labrador from St. Anthony. In 2009, Budgell volunteered for a seven-month tour of duty at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. He was in charge of base operations.

Rick Reid, Keith Lee and Scott Budgell are three modern-day veterans.

All have retired or left the forces but all still have their memories from their time in the military. And sometimes people forget they are also veterans.

Reid is a 23-year veteran of the Army. His tours of duty included Cyprus, 1993 and Kosovo, 1999-2000. His final tour of duty was Afghanistan, 2008.

He retired as a Warrant Officer and lives in St. Anthony.

Lee, who is from Pinware, Labrador, is 32 years old. After serving for six years — including a tour in Afghanistan in 2008 — he finished up his career as a Bombardier with the first regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. He now lives in St. John’s.

Budgell served for over 32 years with the Royal Canadian Air Force, retiring as a Master Warrant Officer. He recently moved to Labrador from St. Anthony. In 2009, Budgell volunteered for a seven-month tour of duty at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. He was in charge of base operations.

St. Anthony’s Rick Reid is a 23-year army vet who served in Afghanistan (2008-09, Kosovo (1999-2000) and Cyprus (1993).

All three view Remembrance Day as an important day for anyone who has served their country in any capacity. And each has their own friends and comrades they remember during this time.

“I have people that I remember,” said Reid. “The main one, a family member, my uncle Levi. Remembrance Day was always a big deal for him. We’d always talk about the importance of it growing up.”

He also has other friends who he served with over the years who he takes time to think about, whether they died in combat or after they left the military.

“I think about them all the time,” he added. “Remembrance Day I spend my time mostly just thinking about them and looking at some old pictures and stuff of things we went through.”

Budgell takes the time to remember some local men who died while in service, although they weren’t fighting in a combat zone at that time. Specifically, he remembers Glen Fowler and Kirk Noel.

While Reid attends the St Anthony parade and cenotaph ceremony each year, Lee goes to the St. John’s parade and Budgell will attend any Legion event that is happening in the area he is, so this year it will be in Labrador, but previously it has been in St. Anthony. It is something each of them believes is important.

“It gives us time to reflect on how fortunate we are as a country to live in a land that is peaceful and safe because of those who serve and have served,” Lee said.

While Lee, Reid and Budgell are veterans, they are quick to say how their generation of veterans was molded by the soldiers and heroes that came before them.

“It’s not just about today’s veterans,” said Reid. “It’s about the veterans before. I think a lot of people don’t realize what was given for them to live in the world that they live in.

“I have had the opportunity to see how other people live in other countries. And people here just don’t realize, and they take what we have for granted.”

Keith Lee from Pinware, Labrador was with the armed forces for six years, and did a tour of Afghanistan in 2008.

Budgell agreed, noting the term veteran is an umbrella term, for which all armed forces members, no matter their element, came from.

“Veterans is a big word,” he said. “You have your war veterans, veterans that went over to war or fought in some capacity with the war overseas. You have your veterans who only did a few years, who served on their soil and didn’t have to go. You have your navy veterans at sea. You don’t have to be retired to be a veteran.”

Lee was still a child when Reid went to Cyprus, and he wasn’t even born yet when Budgell joined the forces.

Although he is young, he is still a veteran. And he believes everyone, regardless of their age or rank should be acknowledged.

“Remembrance Day is a really important day because it gives us time to honour those men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day, and .  . . those who have done so in the past.”

Budgell made a trip to Beaumont Hamel last year with his wife Dale. It was important to him because of his military connection, and because of the number of Newfoundlanders that lost their lives there during World War I. He sees it as an important piece of history that needs to be remembered.

Scott Budgell of St. Anthony spend over 32 years in the air force and did a tour of duty in Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan in 2009.

There are no World War I veterans left, a small number of World War II vets and still some Korean War vets. But there are thousands of Canadian veterans and soldiers that will stand tall on November 11, representing the fallen soldiers of today, yesterday and tomorrow.

At 11 a.m. during their moment of silence, they remember those that died at Beaumont Hamel, the Battle of the Somme, the Dieppe Raid, the Battle of Normandy, Desert Storm, Afghanistan or even right here on home soil.

Military members and civilians alike will think about their family members and friends who were lost, who fought and who were heroes. 

Some will think of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who died when a gunman opened fire on Parliament Hill at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Others may think of the more than 150 casualties Canada has had in Afghanistan. School children may think of John McCrae and his poem In Flanders Fields.

Melissa.jenkins@tc.tc

Recent Stories