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You are Forever Changed

Heroes Remember

You are Forever Changed

You have to put on a smiley face, go to work in the morning and, you know, I joke with other friends, sitting at the desk at work, I work for Canada Post. It’s a great job, great people, great company but there are days there where I’m sitting there refilling the stapler and, you know, you are just thinking about machine guns, you’re thinking about, you know, anything else but what you’re doing, it’s sort of mundane and it’s hard to readjust to normalcy and normal life after you have lived through an experience like that. The Civil War saying about seeing the elephant is very true. You are forever changed. I truly believe that and people that were there that went through that would feel the same way I think. The ramp ceremonies were very dignified, very emotional events where the whole battle group would turn out to pay respect to the soldier and it didn’t matter if it was a private or a sergeant or anyone else, or an officer, the contingents showed up - British, Canadian, American, French, Dutch, Belgian, Romanian, anyone that was on Kandahar airfield came to those ceremonies to pay their respects and it was overpowering. The first couple what I saw, the ramp ceremonies that I attended, you know, they are emotional events. Later on I ended up carrying one of my own troops to that aircraft for his flight home and you are definitely changed yet, you know, I look back at my service, I look at my grandfather and he lived a very long life after World War I and survived til 95 and, you know, he found ways to make it, to make himself cope and to make himself get through it all. Legion is one way, a lot of people turned to drink, or today a lot of people turn to drugs to try to get through these things. You have to, you know you owe it to those people that you’ve lost to make your life better and not, you can’t focus everything on that one incident or one time, you have to look after your family, your kids, your wife. You have to do what you have to do and still function so soldiers know their duty, they know they have a strong sense of drive to get things done, you have to or you won’t be in the army. With the early mornings and the pressures put on you, you perform and a lot of the guys coming home today, it’s so shattering when you are back to normal and all of that excitement is gone, all of that challenge is gone. You know you always wonder if you could do it, if you could experience combat and not that you want to be good at it, not that you want to be good at hurting someone else or killing someone else, but you want to be good at your trade at what you’re doing that you can function well and perform well and I think that drive helps people get through the other challenges which are the mental health side and you don’t expect them to be as powerful as they are. They can become very controlling, take over your life and they’re a monkey on your back that you have to handle and you’re not gonna always handle it well, you’re not always going to handle it to the best but there’s places out there for treatment. There’s things you can do to help yourself and everybody is different, everybody works a different way so you have to find what works for you.

Mr. McCue provides his personal perspective of the effects of war and what it brings to a soldier’s life when returning home.

Robert McCue

Mr. Robert McCue was born August 22, 1972 in the city of Edmonton, Alberta. During his youth, he joined the air cadets and contributes this as a turning point towards a military career. Joining the Reserves, Mr. McCue became a part of the South Alberta Lighthorse Unit formerly known as the South Alberta Regiment. He accepted a deployment to Bosnia in 2003 as an infantry section commander, holding rank of sergeant. Later, he accepted a position with a newly developed unit, PSYOPS and deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. During this time Mr. McCue worked for Canada Post. Having a strong interest in military history and respecting the contributions made by his grandfather during WWI, Mr. McCue had the opportunity to travel as part of the delegation to Vimy in celebration of the 100th anniversary, an honour he will cherish for a lifetime. Mr. McCue presently resides in Edmonton, Alberta with his family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
April 3, 2017
Person Interviewed:
Robert McCue
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)

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