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Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 11:00

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

I was in the CF Primary Reserve for three years in my younger days. One November weekend, our reserve unit was sent out on a search-and-rescue exercise, looking to find a pair of pilots whose aircraft went down over a conflict area.

As we headed out into the wilderness at dawn, we found that the first snow of the year had dumped six inches of wet snow onto everything. We trudged through it all day, not turning anything up, but getting ourselves thoroughly wet. When the time finally came to turn in for the night, we pitched our makeshift tents and crawled into our sleeping bags to try and find some refuge from the encroaching cold.

We woke up chilled to the bone, shivering in the pre-dawn light. The temperature had taken a steep dive overnight, and our wet clothing seemed to channel the cold into us instead of warding it off. Our wet boots had frozen solid, to the point where we couldn't get our feet into them. I started a feeble fire with some fuel tablets, then finally had to resort to warming them with my hands before they relaxed enough for me to get into them. After clawing at the laces with my frozen fingers for what seemed like forever, they finally yielded, but getting the boots on was a blessing as much as a curse -- I might have well had been wearing blocks of ice on my feet.

MBdr Ross was looking on as we struggled with the incapacitiating cold. As I recall, he said:

This sucks, eh, troops?
How'd you like to wake up like this every day of your life for three or four years?
Think about that when Remembrance Day rolls around.