One Canadian soldier couldn’t forget the boy he befriended through a barbed wire fence during the Bosnian war. More than two decades later, he was able to find closure from the past—with the help of a reporter and Facebook.
In 1994, Bosnians lived in misery and fear as conflicts in their country persisted.
During that time, Canadian soldier Justin Frye served in war-torn Bosnia with the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR).
Frye’s duties included providing security to the U.N. helicopters at the landing zone (LZ).
While on duty, he met an adorable 10-year-old Bosnian boy, Amir Bajramovic, who lived in Visoko, a village located northwest of Sarajevo.
Amir would often run up to the barbed wire fence to interact with him and the other soldiers.
Soon, Frye befriended Amir.
“I remember feeling sad that he had to live through this war … the people struggled for the basics of life and even the little things—things that you and I take for granted, meant the world to them,” wrote Frye in a Facebook post.
Frye began bringing candy for Amir. Frye’s mom helped further by sending candy, pencil crayons, and a watch in the mail for the boy.
Even though Amir couldn’t speak English, he was clearly elated to receive the blue Timex Indiglo watch—he smiled widely and his eyes sparkled with excitement.
In the tumultuous times, Frye’s kindness put a smile on Amir’s face.
As the war ended in the spring of 1995, Frye returned to Canada.
Over the years, Frye thought of Bosnia—and of course, Amir.
He never forgot the little boy and wondered how he was tracking.
Twenty-four years later in January this year, when Frye was working on his laptop, he came across a photo of himself and Amir.
The picture sparked his memory, and he was determined to find his long-lost friend. To track him down, he engaged the help of a reporter in Visoko—Senad Hajlovac.
Within a day, the reporter responded to Frye with some wonderful news.
He was told Amir’s sister still lived in Visoko, and Amir now lives in Sweden with his wife and baby girl. Plus, he’s on Facebook.
Frye immediately reconnected with the now 34-year-old Amir on Facebook. Their friendship rekindled as they chatted for the first time in 24 years.
“The feeling was one of complete satisfaction and joy,” Frye wrote. “I am very pleased to have added my newest facebook friend Amir Bajramovic today.”
Amir was also glad to find Frye. “In the time when it was easier to cry than laugh, one wonderful soldier and beautiful human being put a smile on a little boy’s face,” he wrote on Facebook, according to Sarajevo Times.
And the two friends are looking forward to catching up again.
“We’ve spoken about reuniting and I assured him this time that we’ll be standing on the same side of the fence,” Frye told CBC radio.
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