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Friendship at the fence

Corporal Justin Frye and his friend, Amir, in Bosnia.
Photo: Courtesy of Justin Frye


Sqwak! I am a fan of all things that fly. Not just birds, but also aircraft… especially helicopters. I love their thump-thump-thump sound. Kids like them too, including Amir Bajramovic.

When he was a boy in the war-torn country of Bosnia in the mid-1990s, Amir lived near a fenced-in United Nations base. He enjoyed watching helicopters taking off and landing and would often come to the fence to get a better look. He also became friends with a Canadian soldier named Corporal Justin Frye who was serving there. The two would often talk and it was a nice distraction from the war. The soldier brought Amir treats like candy, pencil crayons or paper that he would pass through the fence to brighten his day. I brought in an old photo of the two friends for the Heritage Fair.

When Corporal Frye returned to Canada, he often wondered what happened to the boy. He thought he would never see Amir again, but after many years he tried to find him. Thanks to social media, the two reconnected. Since then, Justin and Amir (now a man) have been texting and have plans to meet again—this time with no fence between them!

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