Cait Wills/for metro edmonton
Even though their return was delayed by almost a day, the soldiers of Charlie Company are glad to be home.
The 100-strong group of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry — affectionately known as the 3PPCLI — drove past kilometres of yellow ribbons festooned on posts and trees yesterday as they entered Canadian Forces Base Edmonton to the cheers and tears of their families and friends waiting to greet them.
They have been away for six months and, during that time, seen nine of their comrades killed in battle, including three members of Quebec’s Royal 22nd Regiment, the Van Doos, who died last week in a roadside bomb blast.
Military families have been showing their support for their soldiers by tying yellow ribbons in obvious places, but miles away from the military base a group of Edmontonians spent their morning lining 97 St. with yellow ribbons.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing that the troopers are doing,” said Clayton Stevens, as he and several other volunteers made sure every lamp-post for blocks was covered.
“This is the second time I’ve done this; the first was this winter in February (when the troops departed for Afghanistan),” he said. “I’m showing my support by doing what I can to show them I care.”
According to information released to the media upon the soldiers’ return, the troops will begin an acclimatization process where they will spend one full day on leave, followed by three half-days at work before beginning post-deployment leave for approximately 30 days.
During that time, they will undergo medical check-ups and tests. But before they were able to fully embrace their experience of being back on Canadian soil, the base held a medal ceremony and closed memorial service to honour the slain soldiers who met their deaths in Afghanistan.