Canada Celebrates in Edmonton

Last night was the Canada Celebrates event at Commonwealth Stadium here in Edmonton. Or at least that’s what the ticket said. There wasn’t much promotion in advance, but what few things I did see tended to call it “For the Love of Country and For the Love of Hockey”. Whatever it was called, the nationally televised event was an opportunity to pay tribute to our Olympic heroes, as well as our heroes in the Canadian Forces. It also raised funds for the Hockey Canada Foundation.

There were maybe 10,000 people in attendance, nowhere close to the number of people that Commonwealth Stadium can accommodate. I have to agree with Terry Jones – promotion of the event could have been much better. The Mayor proclaimed the day Canada’s Heroes Day last Tuesday, but I’d bet that most Edmontonians still hadn’t heard of the event by the time it got started. It probably looked worse than it was though, because almost everyone in the stands made their way to the field once invited to do so. I’m sure that made the empty seats even more noticeable on TV.

Canada Celebrates was a great opportunity for those who did attend and for everyone who watched across the country to reflect back on Canada’s golden Winter Olympics and to salute the military. There were lots of little kids on the field, and they seemed to be having a great time! The flyover was pretty exciting too.

The event was by no means a failure, but it probably didn’t go as well as the organizers had hoped it would. My guess is that they didn’t have a lot of time to pull it together, but did so anyway. Kudos to them for seizing the opportunity to showcase the City of Champions. It’s just too bad we didn’t have time to fill the stands a little more.

You can see the rest of my photos here. You can see the Edmonton Journal’s photo gallery here (story is here).

Remembering Jordan Anderson

Unfortunately, Canadian soliders being killed in Afghanistan and other places around the world is not extremely rare. It’s also very sad when it happens, so I’ll be honest, I usually skim the headlines. I hadn’t even had the chance to do that yesterday morning, however, when I got a call from a CBC reporter looking for a comment on the death of Cpl. Jordan Anderson.

At first I thought she had the wrong number, but after checking out the group she mentioned on Facebook, I realized I did know Jordan. I was really good friends with his younger brother in elementary and junior high, and you could say our families were friends.

Along with five other soliders, Jordan was killed Wednesday when their armoured vehicle struck a massive roadside bomb near Kandahar.

A human interest story about Jordan ran in today’s Edmonton Journal:

“I would like to see Afghanistan turn into somewhere I could visit one day,” [Jordan] said last January, just days before he left Edmonton for his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

He was quietly proud of the work he and his colleagues were doing. He genuinely felt he was making life safer and better for Afghans and thus helping rid the country of international terrorism. And, as odd as it might sound in a war zone, Jordan seemed content.

The last time I saw Jordan was many, many years ago. My friend Matt, who is in the Forces and who worked with Jordan, said he was “funny as hell.” I get the impression from talking to Matt and reading some of the articles, that Jordan was one of those guys you just wanted to be around.

I feel so sad for Jordan’s family, it’s such terrible news. I also feel extremely thankful for people like Jordan, who risk their lives every day to make the world a better place for the rest of us.

Thank you Jordan, you will be missed.

Read: Edmonton Journal