Kendra Mellish looks at the plaque honouring her late husband, Warrant Officer Frank Mellish who was killed in the Afghanistan conflict on Sept. 3, 2006.
©Millicent McKay/Journal Pioneer
It was heartfelt moment for Kendra Mellish as she helped install the metal plaque honouring her husband, Warrant Officer Frank Mellish’s, sacrifice.
On Tuesday community members, Kensington Intermediate Senior High school students and staff, and fellow veterans listened as Kendra read her husband’s autobiography, which he wrote just months before his death on Sept. 3 2006.
Frank was first exposed to the military at CFB Summerside, where his mother worked. There he was introduced to air cadets and in that squadron met his “air cadet sweetheart”. When he was 20, in December 1988 he enlisted, travelling to CFB Cornwallis and then onto CFB Petawawa for basic infantry training. The next year he was posted to the 1st battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment in CFB London. During his service, Frank was deployed to Somalia, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
Kendra says it is important to recognize the pivotal Canadian contributions and sacrifices that have been made.
“All of us today have been given the opportunity of freedom and the chance to become citizens of the world. We have also been given the responsibility that goes with it – to ensure that we as individuals continue to exemplify truth, integrity, tolerance, knowledge and understanding – so that as a community, a country, and a world, we can move forward remembering, but not repeating, the past.”
J.D. Murray, one of the organizers of the plaque dedication said it was through the Canadian Pacific Railway that the installation became possible.
“Canadian Pacific Railway has been placing bronze plaques in Canadian schools memorializing Canadian members who lost their lives in the Afghan conflict.
“We read about the initiative in a legion magazine issued last year. We applied for the plaque, which costs about $1,100. Then we learned we would be issued one in Frank’s name. It arrived earlier this year and here we are today.”
Plaques have been dedicated in high schools, for fallen members of the military, allowing those who have been killed to live on in the memory of the students for generations to come, he said.
“My own personal wish, is some of you will take advantage of the cadet programs here in Kensington, and if some of those programs lead you to service in the military, or not, those programs will benefit you in whatever vocation you choose.”
Member of Parliament, Wayne Easter, said the best thing each student can do when they see Frank’s plaque is to say thank you.
“We need to recognize all the veterans that are here and all of those who have died in conflict and in peacekeeping over the years. It is because of them that the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy as Canadians and the respect Canada has around the world.”