Katrina Blain and her daughter, Vienna Bason, live in Lone Butte but for Remembrance Day, they drive to Abbotsford every year.
Their husband and father, Colin Bason, died in 2007 when Vienna was still an infant. Katrina says serving in the military was hugely important to him.
“I know it was his life. It was a huge thing [to him]. He was a huge history buff he loved all things history and he went over to Bosnia before he went to Afghanistan, he served there. Then, he was sent to Afghanistan and ended up being killed there six weeks before he was due to come home.”
He had great pride in his country and serving, she says.
“When I found out I was pregnant, he talked about not going and I think there would have been a lot of regret for him if he hadn’t been able to go.”
He volunteered for just about everything, she says.
“He took a demotion from Master Corporal to Corporal to go on tour to Afghanistan.”
Life changed for her and her daughter when they found out he died, she says.
“It was hard when he went, being a single first-time mom. But I stayed with my parents, so we were okay there. Then the morning that I was woken up I had soldiers standing at my door waiting to tell me that he’d died. Pretty much felt like the world was crashing down. Vienna was only about five months old.”
Vienna grew up without her dad and Katrina says this year has been very impactful for her.
“She’s feeling it. She’s feeling the loss of her dad and understanding the realities of war.”
They go to the Remembrance Day service in Abbotsford where Colin’s mom lays a silver cross wreath every year.
“He’s mentioned in that service. That was his hometown.”
It’s important for herself but it’s huge for her daughter, says Katrina.
“I hope to never miss it,” she says. “It’s a big thing for her to be able to celebrate her father’s life and his contributions by being there.”
Vienna attends Horse Lake Elementary School, who had their ceremony last Friday, where she sat with a soldier whose son goes to school there and who knew Colin.
“She sat with him. I sat in regular seating there and I was watching her throughout the service. She was crying a lot and breaking down a lot and you can see it’s hitting home for her. It’s, I guess, getting more real for her now that’s she’s older and able to understand these things a little further.”
Remembrance Day is important to not forget the huge sacrifice made by thousands of men and women, she says, as well as focussing on how to avoid it coming down to war.
“I don’t know that world peace is achievable in my lifetime or even my daughter’s lifetime but conflict resolution without bearing arms and having to kill one another would be a beautiful thing to see.”
Colin isn’t their only connection to Remembrance Day. Her great-grandfather, who she lived with until he passed, was in the First World War.
“He didn’t talk about it a whole lot but we knew it was important to not forget the sacrifices and to aim for better in this life.”
He helped build the Legion in Langley, she says.