Veteran shares his story and history in Las Vegas

Silas Campbell is well known to many for his involvement with the Unity Legion, his participation in the annual Remembrance Day services, his involvement with the United Church as well as lending his fabulous voice to the church choir and the men's choir and his fantastic smile and sense of humour.

The man many know simply as "Si" was invited by family and long-time friend Brian Swidrovich to attend the"International Air Show convention in Las Vegas, Nev. in December. Campbell has known Swidrovich for many years, as he is good friends with Campbell's oldest son, Ken.

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Swidrovich, originally from Unity, has been instrumental in the operation of the Saskatoon air show over the years and was also instrumental in having Campbell participate in a documentary, Canada Remembers, a few years ago.

Campbell wanted to enjoy the Las Vegas experience with his family so took along his wife Irene, his children and even a grandson to come along with him. They left Saskatchewan on a Tuesday afternoon and returned on a Friday in early December.

Campbell was proud to represent the air force veterans of Canada and he was also proud of his legion membership so he chose to dress in full legion dress attire for the main part of the event.

Campbell was part of a panel of three who sat in front of over 1,500 convention participants, for over two hours. He also chuckled mischievously when he admitted he was excited to be the youngest on the panel at 89 years of age. Joining him on the panel was the moderator who fielded questions from the audience, as well as two American fighter pilots - one being 92 years of age who participated in the Second World War European campaign and a 94-year-old pilot who was part of the Mediterranean campaign in the Second World War as well as both Vietnam and Korean wars.

Questions were fielded by the moderator and presented to the veterans to answer. Campbell used his sense of humour to describe where Saskatchewan was and garnered some laughter from his responses. Both during the panel discussion and after the panel discussion, Campbell was surprised at the interest shown from audience members in his story. He was expecting mere dutiful handshakes, but instead received numerous questions on what he did in the forces, where he was from and just general story comments and questions.

Campbell was a rear gunner in a Lancaster bomber in the Second World War and made 36 trips over enemy territory from Northern England, in 1944-45. He says he chose that division as he wanted something that would get him overseas, as quickly as possible, as he promised his two brothers who left before him that he would see them there.

Campbell had his photo taken with the Snowbird pilots in attendance, as well as Thunderbird pilots. They are the American equivalence of the Snowbirds. Following the panel session; participants could tour a giant trade show floor that included over 400 booths with memorabilia and air show merchandise.

The Campbell clan also toured on their own visiting Las Vegas sights and taking a helicopter ride over the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Campbell was thrilled with the chopper taking them out over the canyon, but chuckled that he still may have fingerprints in his leg as his wife did not share his enthusiasm for that part of the flight.

Campbell returned home with a smile on his face, fond memories of the event and warmth in his heart that he was able to share his story at this event. He reminded folks that he is the president of the Unity Legion branch and they are in need of new members. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to join. The legion serves as a valuable community service club and plays a part in the community's culture. Consider being part of what the Legion offers to our community.

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