Tom Eady has always had a heart for the men and women who serve in the military. But around Remembrance Day, the Petrolia man wears his heart on his sleeve placing memorials on the walls of the Lambtonian Apartments where he lives.
Eady, a past member of the reserves, has close ties with the military. When he was just 15, a number of friends died in what was then called the Korean Conflict. Relatives have been lost at war. There are veterans whom he admires who live in the same apartment complex as he does.
But what has moved him the most, what has prompted him to research and design a display each year honouring those who have served in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, Afghanistan and on United Nations Peacekeeping tours, is the young men who went to Afghanistan.
“It’s their ages, especially with these young boys that died in Afghanistan” says Eady, looking at a poppy which he has placed the picture of at least a dozen of the young men who have died serving Canada in the far away country. “No one should have to fight a war like that where some guy comes up and shakes your hand and has a bomb on them.
“At least (in the First and Second World War) we knew what we were fighting.”
Eady takes months to research the soldiers, find pictures of them and this year has arranged them on poppies which will be displayed in the common area of the Lambtonian Nov. 9, 10, and 11 from 2 pm to 4pm and 7 pm to 9 pm for anyone to see.
It is a tribute, he says, for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and asked nothing in return.
“They did this as volunteers,” says Eady. “That’s what’s special about them – especially with Canada…they put their lives on the line and never asked for anything in return and they don’t get recognized for it…especially in Korea. That was like it was nothing.”
Eady hopes his tribute opens the eyes of his community to the soldiers’ sacrifices around Remembrance Day. But for him, the young men – particularly those who served in Afghanistan – are etched in his mind. Some, he says, have “become like family to me.”