Newsletters - Volume 53
My Personal Experience on Carrying of the Olympic Torch
Article written by Corporal Roel Pacheco, CFS Alert
I was selected to participate in the torch relay in June. I was in Eureka, Nunavut at the time for Op Nevus when the news came. The excitement of being a torch bearer was starting to grow exponentially about a week before the event.
Having the Olympic flame as the guest of honour, CFS Alert had events planned before hand. We were set up into teams for events such as snow sculptures contest. We even had our own mini Olympics with traditional events as well as Inuit games. Then it was time to carry the Olympic flame.
Carrying the torch will always stand out in my mind as a life altering event. It ranks in a list which includes pledging allegiance to Canada for the first time as a Canadian citizen when my family emigrated from the Philippines and again when I joined the Canadian Forces. It’s the least I could do for a country that gave my family a second chance.
It shed some light to a place that no one knows about. It enlightened Canadians on the vastness of this country and the “True North Strong and Free”. The Olympic flame, gave us some heat when temperatures was below -35 deg C and gave light to CFS Alert with 24 hours of darkness for half the year.
Carrying the Olympic torch, in Alert, is an experience I will never forget.
Things after was a blur. We went inside the building for the speeches and I was fortunate enough to be a part of the CFS Alert choir which sang the Olympic theme song. My face was still numb from being outside. Then that was the end, so I thought.
I did not realize the impact of the torch on others. I finished my tour in Alert and was going through customs in CFB Trenton when the torch, which I was hand carrying, was passed from hand to hand at the AMU. It was the center of every picture.
Having carried the torch, even before the Olympic flame was in Ottawa, was crazy. My basic reply to all the questions were, “Yes, I was fortunate enough to carry the Olympic flame and was even more fortunate to be able to do it in Alert.” Over the Christmas holidays, I couldn’t show up to family gatherings without the torch.
I plan on sharing this experience with others.