Soldier sings to combat war wounds

Photo courtesy of Saltwire

Alison Stewart | November 10th, 2021

Since his teenage years, Dennis MacKenzie has played around with music, but it wasn’t until recently that its role in his life powerfully intensified. Shortly after he returned from a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2007, MacKenzie was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Eventually, in 2013, he was medically released from the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment based in Georgetown, New Brunswick. In the years that followed, MacKenzie found it difficult to hold down a job and he had tried (unsuccessfully) to put an end to the inner conflict he was experiencing. Alcohol was abused and MacKenzie required it simply just to function.

When other traditional forms of therapy to help alleviate his PTSD didn’t quite work for MacKenzie, learning music did. In his own words, he said, “the biggest thing for me has been music. I’m using it as a means to release what’s inside”.

Dennis MacKenzie plays his guitar | Courtesy of SaltWire


MacKenzie’s Album Cover | Courtesy of SaltWire

Today, on the Eve of Remembrance Day, is the release date of his very first album. It’s titled “The Guardian Angel Platoon” and is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, as well as through the album’s website, Think of the album as a trajectory; through the beginning stages of military recruitment, to a tour in Afghanistan where the loss of fellow soldiers occurs, to then return home where unfortunately the loss of more fellow soldiers occurs- to suicide. “They shall not grow old commander will say when we won’t mention them on Remembrance Day”, “For it seems no one cares to honour the ones we lose to the war once they lay down their guns” are lyrics from MacKenzie’s song “Lanterns”.

He hopes that his album will allow others to “understand the position of a veteran” – a powerful sentiment in light of Remembrance Day, and something to remember each day beyond that too.



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