Kalea Palmer remembers wrestling her hand away from her stepfather at an English airport in order to say one last goodbye to her mother, who was headed back to war in 2006.

Palmer had been visiting her mother in England for three weeks as she was on break from her six-month tour of Afghanistan.

“When I left my mom, that was a hard one,” Palmer said.

Both of Palmer’s parents were military police officers during the war in Afghanistan and were on six-month tours of duty at the same time. In their absence, Palmer moved from Alberta to live with family in Kelowna.

From time to time, Palmer would tune in to the news to make sure her parents weren’t among those reported to have been killed.

“It was nice when they called, once they got their phone time,” she said of her parents.

If it had been a while since she heard from them, Palmer said she would wonder if they were OK.

She was seven years old at the time.

November 11 marks the day Canada honours the soldiers who fought and died for their country in all of its military engagements, a day when one may look up at a screen during a ceremony and see someone they knew.

Palmer feels a deep connection to Remembrance Day given the military backgrounds of her mother and father.

“You realize how close it could’ve been – them up on the screen where they’re showing all the dead soldiers. You kind of think about what would happen if it was them on that screen,” Palmer said.

She said she has a greater feeling of sympathy for people who have lost their parents to war given the difficult time she’s gone through.

“I would never have been able to imagine what would happen if my parents did die,” she said.

In keeping with her connection to Canada’s day of remembrance, the now 15-year-old will embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey when she heads to Ottawa to visit Canada’s War Memorial and learn about the significance of Remembrance Day as part of an Encounters With Canada youth program.

The organization is the country’s largest youth forum and each week of the school year, sends teenagers between 14 and 17 to Ottawa to learn about Canadian institutions, meet accomplished Canadians and explore career options.

Each week, the forum presents a different themed trip to the Canadian capital. The one Palmer will take part in is called Canada Remembers.

Palmer will attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Canadian War Memorial and visit the Canadian War Museum.

Participants also network with military veterans, who share personal stories of their wartime efforts of sacrifice and putting their lives on the line.

She’s excited for the trip, especially to witness the ceremony honouring Canada’s fallen soldiers.

“It’d be really cool to say that I actually got to go to it,” Palmer said.

She said she hopes to learn about other people’s points of view regarding the wars Canada has fought in.

Palmer’s also interested in seeing how the ceremony will incorporate the recent deaths of two Canadian soldiers killed in Ottawa and Quebec.

Palmer leaves for Ottawa on Saturday and will stay for the week.