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Former Northumberland Today journalist honoured in Ottawa

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

Submitted Photo
Former Port Hope resident Adam Day, now an author and reporter for the Legion Magazine, is seen with his parents Wilf and Margaret Cavan Day in Ottawa over Remembrance Day weekend.

Submitted Photo Former Port Hope resident Adam Day, now an author and reporter for the Legion Magazine, is seen with his parents Wilf and Margaret Cavan Day in Ottawa over Remembrance Day weekend.


Port Hope residents Wilf and Margaret Cavan Day were in Ottawa over the Remembrance Day weekend to see their son Adam honoured with the 2012 Ross Munro Media Award.

Presented annually by the Conference of Defence Associations in concert with the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, the award was initiated in 2002 to recognize Canadian journalists who have made a significant and extraordinary contribution to increasing public understanding of Canadian defence and security issues. Previous recipients include Stephen Thorne, Garth Pritchard, Sharon Hobson, Bruce Campion-Smith, Christie Blatchford, Matthew Fisher, Alec Castonguay, Brian Stewart, Murray Brewster, and Rosie DiManno.

Day has been to Afghanistan seven times, his father reported this week, starting in 2004. The last was his November 2011 trip to Kabul that he recently wrote up for the Legion Magazine on Canada's end game in that country, the training mission.

The press release announcing the award cited Day's profound attention to detail and unrivalled knowledge of the military culture, his excellent photographic skills and superior prose.

"Mr. Day’s canon of work represents an extraordinary contribution to increasing not only the public’s understanding of the military, but also the military’s understanding of the human cost of its own mission. Operation MEDUSA is one of the most well-known and significant events in Canada’s Kandahar mission, and Adam Day’s three-part piece from fall of 2007 is one of the most comprehensive and most heavily cited works of the events that took place in September of 2006," the bulletin said of the 37-year-old journalist.

It also had praise for Witness To War, his 2010 book.

"Good storytelling requires great skill and judgment: the simple and straightforward way Adam Day sees situations and tells us about them speaks volumes toward his thoughtful and deliberate focus on what we as readers need to understand and feel," the news release stated.

The seven trips were worrisome, his parents admitted. Day's father said his closest call came when he was in a tank that ran over an IED (improvised explosive device) that exploded beneath them. It resulted in his head banging against the roof of the tank and some injury to his neck — which he decided was not severe enough to seek medical attention for by the time he returned to Canada.

Both parents travelled to Ottawa for the Nov. 9 award presentation in the LeBreton Gallery of the Canadian War Museum — the opening event of the Ottawa Remembrance Day weekend, his mother noted.

An extremely impressive setting, with its gallery full of tanks and machinery, the room held about 700 people, many of them members of the military brass in their dress uniforms and medals.

"I was absolutely filled with pride," Adam's mother said.

There was music from the Regimental Band of the Governor General's Foot Guards, and members of the head table were piped in by the Cameron Highlanders. It was a thrill to hear their son's name announced as an occupant of the head table, along with such dignitaries as the Chief Justice of Canada and Chief of Defence Staff.

"In his speech, he acknowledged his mother had had her fair share of stress with the many trips. It was all sort of worth it when you see how he was accepted by that huge gathering," his mother said.

"He said his mother had her fair share of stress, but he said, ironically, it's her own fault anyway," her husband added.

Quoting from his son's address, he said Adam recalled her taking him for trips back to her home in Belfast during the conflicts of the 1970s. He claimed that's where he developed a taste for bunkers and machine guns.

"His first job as a journalist in Canada was with Northumberland Today," he noted.

The Ross Munro award is one of two given at this annual event, the other being the Vimy Award. Since 1991, it has been given to recognize a Canadian who has made a significant and outstanding contribution to the defence and security of our nation and the preservation of our democratic values.

This year's winner was Honorary Colonel Frederick Philip Mannix for his outstanding philanthropy and work in support of Canada’s military community.

Both awards were bestowed by unanimous consent of the selection committee.


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