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Death and Danger

Heroes Remember


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Interviewer: It's your service and the men like you that we, the people that weren't there, need to realize and get an understanding of what you soldiers were going through, through what we think is peacekeeping. Is there any other stories that can make us realize how lucky we are to be able to speak to you people today? Well, there's, there's tonnes of stories, I mean, there is many events that take place during the course of a day, or a course of a mission that has a, has a marking on you. I walked through of, you know, I walked through a city or drove through a city of, of bodies laying on the side of the road, like, hundreds of them, thousands of them, I saw a hospital who had pile of body maybe twenty feet high in front of the, you know, just laying there and, and you wonder how it got there and how what you doing in the middle of all this. You know the first sight I had when I came, I landed at the airport, I think it was May 5th, landed at the airport, got into a jeep with another Canadian and he drove me home, he said, oh, by the way, when we get up that hill, be careful, there's a dead woman in the middle of the street that's rotting away, and the smell of that was, you know, just terrible. So, that is the first sight, that's within fifteen minutes of arrival. I mean, that's the biggest shock you will ever, ever see, I will ever experience in my life. So, every days brings a story similar to this, you know. You're, you're either negotiating for something or you're dodging bullets. You're, you're trying, you get frustrated because the UN is not there and cannot provide you with the resources you're looking for and you're wondering all the time why am I here, you know, who, why should, you know, why should I care when nobody else really wanted to care at that time. So, those are hard questions to, to ask a young soldier, or a young officer, to answer all the time. So, you know, that's your own little interior an interior dilemma that you're stuck with. So, bad moments, yeah, the moment you get up to the moment you die you go to bed is, is, is, is, is not a great moment, and you wonder when are you going to get out of there. And, and, and all those things come, comes back, I guess, and haunt you, later on in life.

Mr. St. Denis recalls the death and danger he faced daily while in Rwanda.

Jean Yves St. Denis

Mr. Jean Yves St. Denis grew up in Rodden, Quebec. He decided university wasn't for him, so he enlisted with the Canadian Army after graduating from high school in 1986. Mr. St. Denis had a very diverse 21 year career with the Canadian military, serving in Calgary, Germany, Ottawa, Rwanda, and Valcartier. While in Rwanda, Mr. St. Denis worked closely with General Dallaire, and witnessed many atrocities which affected him deeply for a long time after his return to Canada. With three overseas peacekeeping missions to his credit, Mr. St. Denis retired from the military in 2004, at which time he began working for Shell Canada.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Jean Yves St. Denis
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Horse Artillery

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