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Coming Back Home to Family

Heroes Remember

Coming Back Home to Family

Interviewer: And I think about the families, when a soldier like yourself returns home, do they really understand what you've gone through and then you have to enter into family life again... That's tough and they don't understand. There's, there's, you know unless you're there, serving, going through instances together no one will understand really what you went through and when I came home for my leave, my two-week leave I actually flew out of Sarajevo. So, I had been in Sarajevo for about three weeks, jumped on an American Herc aircraft, went from Sarajevo to Baden-Baden, got off the plane, jumped in my car and went home. And my wife had a picnic planned that very day and my son was three years old and we were going to go have a picnic and I could not step on the grass. I couldn't walk off the pavement and I had this and I'll never forget it, this physical, emotional reaction. This knot in my stomach and the reason being is cause in Bosnia you don't walk on the grass. Days prior, Corporal Denis Reid had his foot blown off in our very camp when he stepped on the mine and so that, my wife struggled for years to understand who was this guy that came back. Years later she used to say that, you know Ross, you never took your flak vest off when you came home from your tour in 1992, and so my experiences I have very little memories of my home life throughout the 90's cause I was always on a tour. Always on a course, always doing things and back then the spouse was suppose to be the pillar of the support that kept the home life going, that kept the home fires going while I went overseas and served my country. And so it was almost an unspoken rule you don't ask your husband what was it like. You just don't go there. You just know that they're gonna come back different. For the majority of Canadian soldiers you know, you bleed that hyper-vigilance out of you. You kind of reintegrate yourself back into family life again, but you know, for the families, don't ask, don't tell. Now mind you in this day and age there's a hell of a lot more of information provided to families, support and even soldiers that might be dealing with mental health issues, the families are usually the first ones to see it like my wife did planning that picnic

Mr. MacDonald shares his story about the difficulty returning to family life again.

Ross MacDonald

Mr. Ross MacDonald was born April 4, 1967 in Peterborough, Ontario. His parents immigrated from the United Kingdom to Canada in 1960. After graduating from high school, Ross tried the college life, but because of his interest in the outdoors and strong involvement in sports he decided to join the army. At age 20, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces in Petawawa, Ontario joining 3 Royal Canadian Regiment. As part of his training, Mr. MacDonald travelled and lived in Germany for two years. In 1992, Mr. MacDonald joined 3 RCR November Company Group on a tour to Sarajevo to provide humanitarian aid and supplies to the besieged city. Because of his service, Mr. MacDonald was awarded the Commander-in-Chief Commendation. Due to medical release, Mr. MacDonald left the military, but continued to work with the soldiers needing support under the OSSIS program, a government position he holds today.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ross MacDonald
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Regiment

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