For some veterans and active service members, remembering is a daily struggle.
Not because of what’s forgotten – but what will never leave.
It was on Remembrance Day six years ago that Canadian entertainer Blake Emmons was inspired to do something for those trying to cope with the past.
“So many who have served are here and challenged by what we now recognize as post-traumatic stress disorder,” Emmons told The Brent Loucks Show Wednesday.
“They reach that bottom of the black hole that’s caused by what they’ve seen and what they’ve witnessed in their lifetime – it’s a picture that never leaves the mind.”
Emmons, who helped launch and host the Telemiracle telethon in Saskatchewan in the 1970s, is himself a retired Air Force veteran.
He decided to create the Wounded Warriors Weekend to show and express appreciation to veterans, active duty members and first responders who are challenged by physical and mental wounds.
Activities are designed to be stress and anxiety free, ranging from fishing trips to spa days and indoor concerts.
“Yes we have fishing and we have golf, but that’s just an excuse for us to get together – for them all to get together – and find out they’re not alone,” Emmons said.
“Through the support of everyone in Saskatchewan, I know for a fact we’ve helped save lives.”
The first Wounded Warriors Weekend was held in Nipawin in 2012.
In the years since, veterans from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have taken part and bonded over their shared experience. The event is also open to police officers, firefighters and first responders.
Last year, the Wounded Warriors Weekend was held in Lloydminster. Emmons said thousands of people came out to wave flags at the motorcade along its route from Saskatoon.