| Nov 06, 2008

Nov 6/08 - In Remembrance

Back toHome

In Remembrance - November 6, 2008

The History of Remembrance Dayby Chava Field-Green

In Flanders Fields

Take Time to Remember by Rev. Art Turnbull

Canadian Statistics at War

In Remembrance

by Angela Bright

Traveling down Buckshot Lake Road, on the stretch between Vennachar and Plevna, you will drive past this beautiful remembrance that Tim Williams has placed by the road near his home. Each poppy that trims the cross stands for a soldier’s life lost overseas in the most recent conflict. Mr. Williams set up the tribute when his son-in-law was sent to Afghanistan in 2006. The Pembroke Legion graciously supplied 100 poppies to Mr. Williams, though neither thought nor hoped they would be needed.

At the time this photo was taken, we have lost 98; 97 were killed in action, one on a training mission, and there is an additional poppy for the diplomat who was killed.

The History of Remembrance Day

by Chava Field-Green

It was 90 years ago next Tuesday that the armistice, or cease of hostility that ended the First World War was signed. Canada joined the other allied nations to enter Mons, Belgium in victory, propelling our nation into a new place on the global scale.

The following April, Liberal MP Isaac Pedlow introduced legislation calling for a national holiday to be held the second week in November. This holiday was to commemorate the victorious end of the recent war. This Thanksgiving Monday/Armistice Day was proposed for the same weekend every year to not inconvenience the business community. However the veterans across Canada felt that the significance of this day was too important to share with a harvest holiday such as Thanksgiving and should be held on the day of the actual armistice signing, November 11, no matter what day of the week it was.

Nevertheless 89 years ago today, the 6th of November 1919, King George V asked his subjects across the commonwealth to join together on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to suspend normal activity and “in perfect stillness remember the glorious dead”. This year we will observe the 177th and 178th minutes of silence recognized in Canada since the end of WW1.

For about a decade both Thanksgiving/Armistice Weekend and November 11 were observed. Thanksgiving remained a day of the harvest, celebrated with sports and large dinner events, whereas in stark contrast Armistice Day was a solemn day of meditation held at the cenotaph, remembering the 60 000 soldiers killed in the what was then “The Great War”.

1945 saw the foundation of the Canadian Legion who, as their first act, announced that Armistice Day should be held on November 11th and on that date only.

By 1931 Parliament recognized the campaign and Changed Armistice Day from the Monday preceding November 11, to the actual date. They also changed the name to Remembrance Day, to imply that the holiday is about remembering those who fought rather than the signing of a treaty. In later years Thanksgiving was moved to the more appropriate second weekend of October.

Since 1931 Remembrance Day has been held with the bugler sounding out the last post at cenotaphs across the country. Canada has the most extensive ceremonies held on November 11 in the entire commonwealth. Most countries including Great Britain, only observe the two minutes of silence, but have special services on the Sunday after. Oceanic Countries have Anzac day the 25th of April, which is their national day of remembrance.

In Flanders Fields

Canadians in Flanders, Photo National Archives of Canada

After a terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915, Canadian army physician, Lt. Col. John McCrae buried one of his friends who had died during the artillery barrage. The next day, McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields, inspired by the poppies that had begun to grow on the battlefield.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. Take Time to RememberBy Rev. Art Turnbull

Canadians have done more than their share in two centuries. Every conflict and war that has threatened the democratic freedoms in the world has seen Canadians on the front lines. With every peace keeping action since Korea and the Suez, Canadian Forces members have served courageously.

Today our men and women in uniform are on duty in various parts of the world on land, on the seas, and in air operations. Afganistan is the biggest conflict since World War Two and Korea accounting for 100 deaths and hundreds of wounded soldiers. Thousands of young citizens have joined the units to contribute to the goal of defeating terrorism. It is a costly undertaking that Canadians support.

Emergency and humanitarian aid and relief has been and is being delivered to many locations in the world. The Hercules airplanes from Trenton fly in supplies of food and medicine to some of the most devastatedplaces on the planet. Sailors aboard ships out of Halifax and Esquimalt are now safe guarding the United Nationschartered vessels that are delivering food to places like Somalia. The threat of piracy on the seas is being countered by the Canadian Navy and AirForce.

Those members of the Canadian Forces are the best trained in the world. They do the tasks that they have been assigned to carry out by the government of Canada with professional skill. They come from towns and cities just like ours and they have the same ideals that we all share. Even in the midst of dangerous assignments these men and women are taking time to aid children with food and clothing. The medical people have unselfishly given aid to innocent children caught in the deadly conflicts. Little acts of kindness have meant hope for mothers and grandparents in hopeless circumstances.

Today's serving members, regular and reserves, stand in a long line of traditions that go back two centuries. Wherever Candians havefought, and some have died, therehas been the common touch of a human helping hand extended by those soldiers, sailorsand air personel.

On Novemeber 11th it is right that citizens across Canada to take time to remember. The cost of sharing an hour at a community service, to pay respect at the local Cenotaph, to just stand still for two minutes at 11 a.m. is nothing compared to those who have given us freedom to do so in this great nation. In Verona, Harrowsmith, Sydenham or Perth Road Village, in Sharbot Lake or Tamworth or Westport, in your community there is opportunity to stand together and say thanks to those who have been on the front lines of freedom. Take time this year to remember, "Lest we forget."

Canadian Statistics At WarConflictCanadians in ServiceCasualtiesDeadSouth Africa(1899-1902)approx. 7000267-World War I(1914-1918)628,736(4,518 Women)66,573138,166World War II(1939-1945)1,081,865(49,963 Women)44,927(73 women)53,145(19 Women)Korean War(1950-1953)26,7915161,558Gulf War(1991)4,07400Afghanistan*(2001- )-98-

Compiled from Canada's Veteran's Affairs. *As of November 6, 2008

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.