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Former provincial premier named Honorary Colonel with local battalion


TRURO – In the middle of their training field, members the 1st Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (North) paused.

It was a moment of silence for their fallen comrades – Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo – both Canadian Armed Forces members who died last week at the hands of terrorists.

And it’s something that touched the battalion’s new Honorary Colonel deeply.

“From today, something that will always remain with me is while doing maneuvers in the middle of the woods, we had a moment of silence for our two fallen comrades,” said Dr. John Hamm, who has been appointed the Honorary Colonel of the battalion for the next three years. “It was very moving.”

Vincent died following a hit-and-run in Quebec on Monday, while Cirillo was gunned down while standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday.

The honour was bestowed upon Hamm, the former premier of Nova Scotia, on Sunday, the final day of a training weekend that saw battalion members head to Debert and McCallum Settlement before finishing with a lunch at the Truro Armouries. It’s long been a tradition for battalions to have honorary colonels, but with the 2nd Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders being renamed the Cape Breton Highlanders two years ago, this is the first time the local battalion has had its own Honorable Colonel.

“I’ve been a lifetime supporter of the Canadian military and as a result of the terrible actions taken against our military last week, it’s particularly moving to be included now among the ranks. It’s something that means a lot to me,” said Hamm.

“I think Canada’s military plays an increasingly important role in the minds of Canadians.”

While the appointment came out of the blue for Hamm, he says he has a “lifetime of attachment” with Canada’s military.

When he was a university student, Hamm participated in officer training at the Canadian Forces Base Borden, and he remembers the day two of his uncles returned home safely from the Second World War.

Over the course of his three-year appointment, Hamm is hoping to help bring in new recruits.

“One of the challenges the battalion faces is the lack of new recruits,” he said, adding he hopes to enhance the image of soldiering to the community, especially the youth. “I want to show the benefits of soldiering to them, and the benefits of soldiering to the community.”

Hamm is joining Barry Wark, who was appointed two years ago to the role of Honorary Lieutenant Colonel.

The two will work together on recruitment.

“The battalion is an important part of the community and we will do everything we can to enhance its presence,” said Wark. “We want young people in particular to see the benefits.”

Hamm is hoping Canadians have seen an end to the recent terrorist attacks on home soil,  the country will come together, and the military will be able to prevent, as much as it can, further acts of terrorism.

“It’s pretty scary when you have homegrown terrorist attacks,” he said, adding people are appalled this happened to the country. “I think for most of us, the Canadian flag is a symbol of what our country is and the military is very much a part of that.”

 

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

It was a moment of silence for their fallen comrades – Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo – both Canadian Armed Forces members who died last week at the hands of terrorists.

And it’s something that touched the battalion’s new Honorary Colonel deeply.

“From today, something that will always remain with me is while doing maneuvers in the middle of the woods, we had a moment of silence for our two fallen comrades,” said Dr. John Hamm, who has been appointed the Honorary Colonel of the battalion for the next three years. “It was very moving.”

Vincent died following a hit-and-run in Quebec on Monday, while Cirillo was gunned down while standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday.

The honour was bestowed upon Hamm, the former premier of Nova Scotia, on Sunday, the final day of a training weekend that saw battalion members head to Debert and McCallum Settlement before finishing with a lunch at the Truro Armouries. It’s long been a tradition for battalions to have honorary colonels, but with the 2nd Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders being renamed the Cape Breton Highlanders two years ago, this is the first time the local battalion has had its own Honorable Colonel.

“I’ve been a lifetime supporter of the Canadian military and as a result of the terrible actions taken against our military last week, it’s particularly moving to be included now among the ranks. It’s something that means a lot to me,” said Hamm.

“I think Canada’s military plays an increasingly important role in the minds of Canadians.”

While the appointment came out of the blue for Hamm, he says he has a “lifetime of attachment” with Canada’s military.

When he was a university student, Hamm participated in officer training at the Canadian Forces Base Borden, and he remembers the day two of his uncles returned home safely from the Second World War.

Over the course of his three-year appointment, Hamm is hoping to help bring in new recruits.

“One of the challenges the battalion faces is the lack of new recruits,” he said, adding he hopes to enhance the image of soldiering to the community, especially the youth. “I want to show the benefits of soldiering to them, and the benefits of soldiering to the community.”

Hamm is joining Barry Wark, who was appointed two years ago to the role of Honorary Lieutenant Colonel.

The two will work together on recruitment.

“The battalion is an important part of the community and we will do everything we can to enhance its presence,” said Wark. “We want young people in particular to see the benefits.”

Hamm is hoping Canadians have seen an end to the recent terrorist attacks on home soil,  the country will come together, and the military will be able to prevent, as much as it can, further acts of terrorism.

“It’s pretty scary when you have homegrown terrorist attacks,” he said, adding people are appalled this happened to the country. “I think for most of us, the Canadian flag is a symbol of what our country is and the military is very much a part of that.”

 

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

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