No time to mourn: soldiers

Paul McLeod
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As more Canadians die in Afghanistan, the emotional toll on the troops grows. But as long as they're on the job, there's little time for grief.
"I really can't describe to you the heartache that comes from that," said Warrant Officer Chris Saunders, 36, of Halifax, yesterday morning.
Saunders knew Master Cpl. Chris Stannix from back when they used to be in the same company.
Stannix died Easter Sunday, April 8, when his armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.

As more Canadians die in Afghanistan, the emotional toll on the troops grows. But as long as they're on the job, there's little time for grief.

"I really can't describe to you the heartache that comes from that," said Warrant Officer Chris Saunders, 36, of Halifax, yesterday morning.

Saunders knew Master Cpl. Chris Stannix from back when they used to be in the same company.

Stannix died Easter Sunday, April 8, when his armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.

Soldiers get to mourn their fallen comrades at a ceremony, but after that it's back to business.

"You're dismissed at the end of the ramp ceremony, and that's your closure - and you're back to the mission. You've just gotta push through it," Saunders said.

Despite the emotional turmoil, Saunders said he would go back for a second tour in Afghanistan. Only this time, he'd want to take part in training local police officers.

Belief in the mission was a common theme among the troops returning home after six months abroad.

Saunders was one of many soldiers who said he felt his work was making a real difference.

With debate raging in Canada about whether the mission in Afghanistan should continue, some soldiers felt it was urgent to share their point of view.

"I feel like I'm making a difference by coming back and talking about it," said Garrow Hill-Stofsky, 23, of Wolfville.

"There is a lot of positive progress. You've got to be there to see it. What you can read and see on the news, it's nothing - it's nothing compared to actually being there."

Geographic location: Afghanistan, Halifax, Canada Wolfville

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