Hoping your Holidays with your Family and Friends is a Healthy and Happy one.
May all the Blessings of the Season be upon you!!
|Here is my summation of Rum Runner Day's.
I really do not know what we expected for crowds, but they were
not there as in past, obviously. I saw a lot more locals, however many
locals did boycott, as expected.
The Wine and Food Festival was hugely
successful!! Great turnout. Tremendous support from local restaurants
and liquor stores. Great food and drink!! The talent of the musicians
and artists was amazing!! Terrific ambiance!! Definitely a big hit!! A
great new addition to Rum Runner Day's!! I hope to see it back next
year!! Thank you to Sue Moser for doing most of the organizing!! A big Thank You to all the local merchants who contributed to the evening!!
Friday night's show was a washout!!
Literally. Terry Ruth had to quit his show early, as soon as the rain started.
The sound guys were scrambling to cover their electrical equipment. The
rain quickly turned into a downpour, complete with hail, wind, thunder and
lightening!! It was Thunder in the Valley on a massive scale!! As a result of the storm, The Paxton Bachman Band concert was sadly
cancelled. There was a small crowd of very disappointed people, huddling
under canopy tents or running for cover.
parade over all, was a disappointment, no bands (music). The firemen
were very conspicuously absent (sad). However, on a positive note, the Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers float was
awesome!! The Recreation float was great!! Morency's new float was
wonderful! The Forestry "bear" was very realistic, frightening and fun!! Too bad
the parade was so short and lacked the basic components of past parades.
The Show and Shine was the biggest
ever! Lots of kewl vehicles to look at and fawn over. It, in itself, was
a huge success!! Huge kukos to Joni and Brian MacFarlane for putting it
together!! Thank you.
The Boy's & Girl's Club Duck Race was a success!! Always fun!! Great crowds of families all cheering and watching the ducks antics as they floated down the river. At the finish line it was a mad scramble to catch all of the ducks before they could escape and continue down the river. Many did escape and I'm sure by now are well on their way to Lethbridge and beyond. Go ducks!!!
On the Saturday afternoon, Rainbow the
Clown was a hit!! Loved by all! Young and old alike laughed and were
amazed by his talent. His magic show was fun and interactive. His balloon portion of the show ended up with all of the children coming up on stage to be a part of his odd "farm" of animals. Rainbow does things with balloon animals that I have
never seen done!! It was a show, that if you missed it, you missed an incredible act!! I hope he will be back next year to wow and amaze us!!
Don't miss it!!
Charli Jaenta, the Facepainter, was very busy creating her usual extraordinary works of art!! Biggest hugs and thanks to her for her time and talent!!
the card reader was brilliant!! Her talents are amazing!! Unfortunately, she
was not placed in the best spot in order to highlight her talents.
However, she had a great time and wants to return next year. She is available for readings anytime. Just message me for details.
The Youth's Got Talent show was awesome!! We have a lot of amazing young talent!! They deserve much credit. I was proud of them!! Way to go!!!!
The midway and carnival area was a
disappointment. We received half the rides that were supposed to come. On the positive side, there were no line-ups. On the negative side, the carneys were so disenchanted with the lack of crowds that they
would say the rides were broke in order to not run for just two or three
people. What a joke!!
There were a LOT less vendors. Could be the price
increase and losing Thunder. I, for one, usually set up a vendor stand and
did not this year only because there was no Thunder. A sign of the many that did not come this year??
T-shirts sales were brisk, both for the RRD T-shirts and the TITV T-shirts. There were equal amounts of both, seen on people walking around.
The Power Wrestling was very quiet. Not very many people. This is not really surprising considering the lack of crowds.
There were far too many police. They must have had fun handing out tickets, as every time I saw them, that is what they were doing!! The amount of Police and Peace Officers would have been good if we had the same crowds as years past, but overall, this year, definitely unneeded.
passes totally unnecessary. No one even checked me or anyone else I
know. However, if we had had Thunder, they would have been a good idea.
As would have been the designated parking areas and shuttle service. If we ever get Thunder in the Valley back, it might just be a great idea!!
No one camping in the usual designated spots. Not surprising. Random camping was not happening either. The locals who complained about the random campers and the subsequent problems in the past, should be happy about that.
Over all, it was quiet and good family fun. However, we needed more stuff for families/kids and people in general. Bed races, four-legged races, tug-of-war, pie-eating contest, food eating contests in general (hot dogs, pie, pizza, etc.), business's entered into contests against each other, log or barrel rolling contests, a bouncy castle, dunk tank, bands playing, etc. all great ideas for another year.
it turned out exactly as I expected that it would, without Thunder in
the Valley. There were many disappointed people. Some came still expecting Thunder
and went home upset. The families who were there had good to say about
the family events. There were a share of people who obviously boycotted it altogether. It was just not the same, without TITV, but did we expect it to be?
It was just Rum Runner Days. It was the same as
any other local celebration, in any other town. It was not Thunder in the
Was it worth the money we put into it? That is a matter of opinion. Did we get back the dollars we put into it? Not even close.
The many new things that we had this year will definitely compliment the next time we do have Thunder in the Valley!!
for one, am looking toward the future and hoping that we can bring TITV
back with all the new positive changes and make it the best celebration
BTW. I am happy to sit down and talk with anyone about
this years events, changes and issues. Email me, write on my blog, phone
me. I am available to talk.
Well, Dear Readers, I have something to get off of my chest!!
Recently one of my fellow Bloggers wrote a blog titled:
Where have all the Volunteers Gone?
It was linked to a well written article in the Crowsnest Pass Promoter, on March 21st.
Joni had written a tongue-in-cheek list of guidelines, pertaining to the cancellation of Thunder in the Valley, that affect community support and volunteering within this beautiful community.
Several letters poured in after that, echoing the sentiments of the original article. One such letter to the editor stated that it should have been titled "13 Ways to Kill a Community."
On this aforementioned blog many people voiced their opinions on council and how councils decisions are affecting us all. Some talked about the "hand-picked" committees and how council spins it's own version of facts and figures to suit their own needs and what is said in the public eye.
Well, I just want you to know that I am one such person who currently sits on one mentioned committee. It is the Rum Runners Days Committee.
Just some background before you rush to blast me. The council ran ads for several weeks asking for community support and volunteers for this committee. They requested a resume with related experiences attached.
First point: If you want volunteers, why are you asking for a resume? Is this to scare everyone "unqualified" away??
I sent in my application. I guess I was the only one not "scared" away. Mine was the only reply to help.
I then waited for council to "find" more volunteers. Councillor Emile Saindon was asked to head up this committee. Several council members then hand-picked suitable business people and friends. A committee was finally formed. The committee was comprised of these key business people, council members, and friends and family members of council members.
Oh yes, and me.
I must note here: This was much before the cancelling of Thunder in the Valley. We still thought at this point that it was happening.
Council, the RCMP and C.P. Rail asked for several key issues to be addressed before they would approve the continuance of this event.
The committee complied the best we could. Everything that council was asked for we provided to them. Obviously it was not enough. Councillor Emile Saindon even abstained from the voting, when it came time to make the "decision" to hold TITV or not. He wanted to remain neutral. Good for him!! Sadly council did what many of us in this valley are now not happy about. They cancelled the main event, the fireworks show!!
Funny thing is, it set off a whole new set of fireworks, of a whole different kind.
Wow!! Over the next few weeks everyone and his dog had an opinion. Everyone was asking: where were "we the people" when the decisions were made and why were "we the people" not consulted?
It seemed to wake up this valley. Letter's to the Editors of both papers poured in. Everyone had something to say!!
But this article written by Joni MacFarlene on March 21st, seemed to best sum it up.
Well, since then I have worked with the Rum Runner Committee to try to make the best of a situation and to try to put on a fun, family -oriented event. Now remember, I was the only one who originally stepped up and volunteered for this committee. I offered my experience and training in several key areas to help make this event successful. I am not trying to blow my own horn here. I only make a note of this point because of what is seeming to be happening now on this "volunteer" committee.
We wonder where all the volunteers are going?? If they are being treated like I have been treated, since becoming part of this committee, then it is no wonder at all.
The following are some excerpts from an email that I just sent to the committee chairperson, Emile Saindon and his wife Candace, who is our secretary, entertainment & events coordinator and advertising, publicity & communications coordinator.
So here is part of the email:
I just got the email/contact list. Thank you.
I noticed something on this list and I just wanted some clarification please.
Am I no longer on as the municipality coordination that I volunteered for? I am just feeling shuffled around a bit.
first applied for the Rum Runner committee in November (when no one
else did) and was willing to take on several different things. I waited
to see who would be joining me.
After some time, a committee was
formed from some of the council members and members of the community,
who were directly asked, as no one else seemed to want to do it. At that
time, I volunteered to do the website, advertising and/or marketing; as
I have experience and schooling in all those areas.
meetings went on, I again volunteered my time for any of these things
and was told that these things had now been filled by other people who
had been (hand picked) asked, after I had volunteered to do them.
Then when we had
that meeting in February, and Emile asked who wanted to head up what
committee positions. I volunteered for the finances, municipality
coordination and/or as the Chairperson, as Emile mentioned he wanted to
hand it over to someone. I was put down for finances and municipality
coordination. That was acceptable to me. Emile said he would get the
information together for me. (He still has not, as of yet, and it is well into April.)
At the next meeting you had Carol
there to take over the finances. I deferred to her experience, she is
best qualified for it. I am happy to do that.
I again mentioned
to Emile about doing the chairperson job if he was still not wanting do
it. He told me at that meeting that he and I could work together on the
Chairperson position. I was not sure how that would work. He seems to be
handling it well himself. That is fine with me, I only offered my
experience to such a position, but am happy to have him continue with
what he has done thus far.
I did not offer myself for
entertainment, nor was this something that I was interested in doing. I
did, however, offer to call Rainbow the Clown, as the committee said we
would like to have one. You let me run with that one. Thank you.
I came up with the T-shirt contest idea and you let me run with that one, too. Thank you. I will see it through.
on this contact list you just sent out, you now have me listed as
Entertainment/Events Coordinator. I was under the impression that
Candace and Valerie had volunteered to do that. Candace, I just want you
to know that I truly feel that you have been doing a great job too!! It
is amazing!! You are amazing!!
Anyway, I guess what is bothering
me is that I offered in the various areas that I had experience and
training, and in areas that I would be physically able to do the work
needed and the time to do it.
A lot of the people you now have on this committee have been specifically chosen (again I point out: hand-picked) for their areas of expertise.
I really feel very shuffled around. I feel that my experience has
not been a consideration in the areas of where you have chosen to place
me. No one likes to feel unappreciated or underutilized. Sadly, I am feeling both.
this point, I will continue to be a voice of the people. As that seems
to be the only area that I am seemingly doing that I volunteered for.
So I ask you this, Dear Readers:
Is it a wonder why we have a hard time finding volunteers, if this is how they are treated? Why would we volunteer if we feel unwanted?
Are we going to continue to let council "handpick" our volunteer committees and boards based solely their qualifications (or lack thereof) and relationship to council?
Is this what our future looks like?
Will you sit idly by and let this happen?
Will our committees be made up of the elite, the educated and the entitled?
Will you stand up and let your voice be heard??
Do you want the choices made for you, or do you want to actively be a part of that choice? Get out and make your choices known.
We ALL have something valuable to offer. Whatever education we do or don't have, whatever experience someone else thinks we have or do not have to offer, the greatest thing we can offer is our time!!! Our time is our greatest resource!! Don't be afraid to offer your time. Don't be put off by what others say or think. YOU are our most valuable asset!!!!
Get out and volunteer. We need you!!
As a side note:
I will continue to be a part of this Rum Runner Committee, no matter how much they seem to be pushing me out in favor of more "desirable" people . I will not be undervalued or ignored!!
I listen to what the people of this valley have to say. I hear what you are saying. I will continue to try to represent you the best I can.
You have a voice in me. I will be heard!! I will not back down. You can count on it!!
|How does the rest of the world celebrate Christmas?
On the sixth of December Sinterklaas or Saint-Nicholas is
celebrated, which is an entirely different holiday from Christmas. Santa
Claus in Belgium is called de Kerstman or le Père Noël and he comes
around on Christmas day to bring children presents. There are different
cultures in Belgium, the Northern part being Vlaanderen (speaking a
Dutch dialect), the Southern part being Wallonie (speaking a French
dialect) and the Eastern part speaking.
Small family presents are given at Christmas, under the tree, or in stockings near the fire-place, to be found in
the morning. Christmas breakfast is a special sweet bread called
'cougnou' or 'cougnolle' - the shape is supposed to be like baby Jesus.
Some families will have another big meal on Christmas day.
Father Christmas is called Papai Noel. Many Christmas customs are
similar to USA or UK. For those who have enough money, a special
Christmas meal will be chicken, turkey, ham, rice, salad, pork, fresh
and dried fruits, often with beer. Poorer people will have chicken, rice
and beans and will also drink beer and coke. For dessert people enjoy
some Brazilian sweets, Brigadeiro made of condensed milk and
chocolate. Both rich and poor have Christmas trees. A poor person's
Christmas tree is made of plastic or is just a dry tree branch. As they
don't have snow in Brazil, poor people put cotton over their Christmas
tree branch to simulate snow. Christmas time varies a lot from south to
Finnish people believe that Father Christmas (Santa Claus) lives in the
north part of Finland called Korvatunturi, north of the Arctic Circle.
People from all over the world send letters to Santa Claus in Finland. There is a even big tourist theme
park called 'Christmas Land' in the north of Finland, near to where
they say that Father Christmas lives. Everyone cleans their houses ready for the three holy days of
Christmas - Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Christmas Eve
is very special, when people eat rice porridge and a sweet soup made
from dried fruits (plums, raisins, apples, pears, apricots and figs).
It´s eaten in the morning or at lunchtime.
They will then decorate a spruce tree in the home. At mid-day, the
'Christmas peace declaration' is broadcast on radio and TV from the
Finnish city of Turku by its Mayor. In the evening, a traditional
Christmas dinner is eaten. The meal will include 'casseroles' containing
liver, rutabaga, carrot and potato, with cooked ham or turkey. Some
families eat liver pate. Rawpickled slightly salted salmon, herrings and
salad called "rosolli". Mushroom salad is also common.
Rosolli is cold salad made from peeled, cooked and diced potatoes,
carrots, beetroot and diced apples, onions and pickled cucumber. Season
with salt (some people use also pepper). Whipped cream (+ salt, vinegar
and beetroot colour to make it pink) is served with rosolli. Food
traditions during the Christmas period depend on which part of Finland
people live. In Lapland and in Finland's islands there are different
foods. Other foods include cooked peas, different kind on salads, roe,
cold fish-dishes, pates, other casseroles such as beetroot casserole
with cheese or with blue cheese, sweet and spiced breads, carelian pies,
Gingerbreads, spiced cakes, different kind of cakes and cookies and
others to eat with coffee or milk. You eat these at "day-coffee" time on
the Christmas eve (after the Christmas peace declaration which
everybody watches on TV, or before going to the church and graveyard),
in the evening.
Christmas smells include mulled wine, gingerbreads, spices - cinnamon
being the most common - Christmas tree, burning candles and hyacinthe.
Poinsettia and hyacinthe are the most popular Christmas flowers.
On Christmas eve many go to church, on the afternoon or late afternoon
(time depends of local churches) - this is new tradition. The "real" and
old Christmas church is early on the morning of Christmas day. Many go
Graveyards are very beautiful places on the Christmas eve, since there
are lot of soft white snow and the only lights come from candles people
bring to the graves of loved ones. If relatives are buried in other
graveyards, there are places in graveyard you can lit your candle to
Sauna of course is part of celebration. People go there before church
and graves, or after them. After sauna is the festive dinner. After that comes Santa Claus (if there are children) or the
presents that are under the Christmas tree are opened.
In some families where there are no small kids, the presents are not put
under the tree, but collected to big sacks, which are carried near the
front door. Then a family member might say, Did I heard sound of reindeers and bells... Or Did I hear Santa Claus...
When they go to check, there are big sacks full of presents there. Then people drink coffee and eat cakes, cookies and other sweet things.
Enjoy present and play games. Small kids go to bed but others stay up
late. Many families will visit cemeteries and grave-yards to place a
candle onto the burial graves of family members. Cemeteries are very
beautiful at Christmas-time.
Children receive their presents on Christmas Eve, usually with a
family member dressing as Father Christmas. As children grow older,
they come to realise that 'Father Christmas' is really a bigger brother,
sister or family member.
In France, Christmas is called 'Noël. Everyone has a
Christmas tree, sometimes decorated in the old way with red ribbons and
real white wax candles. Fir trees in the garden are often decorated
too, with lights on all night. Father Christmas is called Père Noël.
The Christmas meal is an important family gathering with good meat and
the best wine. Not everyone sends Christmas cards.
Germans love to decorate their houses at Christmas. Many houses
will have little wooden frames holding electric candles in their
windows, and coloured pictures of paper or plastic which look beautiful
from the outside at night. Often too, they will have an 'Adventskranz' -
a wreath of leaves with four candles. (Advent - meaning 'coming' - is
the 4 week period before Christmas). On each Sunday of Advent, another
candle is lit. Most homes will also have little wooden 'cribs' - a small
model of the stable where Jesus was born, with Mary, Joseph, Baby
Jesus, and animals. Father Christmas - 'Der Weihnachtsmann' - brings presents
in the late afternoon of Christmas Eve (December 24th), after people
have been to a church meeting. The presents are then found under the
Christmas tree. One person in the family will ring a bell and call
everyone to come to the room. On Christmas Day, fish (carp) or goose
will be cooked.
Santa Clause (Winter-grandfather) (Tel-apo or Mikulas)
comes on the 6th of December. Children should clean and put their
shoes outside next to the door or window before they go to sleep. Next
day candies and/or small toys appear in them in red bags. For children,
who don't behave well, a golden birch placed next to the sweets, a
symbol for spanking... (but don't worry, it is just for fun, and not for
actual punishment.) On 24th of December, children go to their relative or to the movies,
because little Jesus brings the tree and the presents that evening to
their house. It is customary to hang edible things on the tree, like
golden wrapped assorted chocolates and meringues beside the glass balls,
candles (real or electrical), and sparklers. Families usually cook festive dinner for that night. An example would be
fresh fish usually with rice or potatoes and home made pastries as
dessert. After dinner, the tree would be viewed by the children for the
first time. It was very exciting. Christmas songs are sung and then
the gifts under the tree are shared. Older children attend the midnight mass with their parents. (During
communism, children had to hide at the back of the church. Teachers
could have lost their jobs for attending the mass. Later (in mid
1970's) most of the Communist Party leaders of the town attended it
Next day the children attack the edible part of the tree. Festive food
is enjoyed on the second and third day too.
Latvians believe that Father Christmas brings presents on
each of the 12 days of Christmas starting on Christmas Eve. Usually the
presents are put under the family Christmas tree. It was in Latvia that the first Christmas
tree was decorated. The special Latvian Christmas Day meal is cooked brown peas with bacon (pork) sauce, small pies, cabbage and sausage.
Christmas starts with gifts under the tree, to be opened
Christmas morning. Then its onto a Christmas lunch either at home or at
one's parents place. Turkey or chicken with all the trimmings is eaten,
then come tea time, it is a Bar-B-Q for friends and family to get
together,and have a few beers or wines with the meal.
People adhere to the tradition that Father Christmas
brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. The presents are left
under the Christmas tree or in shoes by the fireplace. A special
Christmas meal of salted dry cod-fish with boiled potatoes is eaten at
midnight on Christmas Eve.
On the 6th December St Nicholas comes and puts small gifts in
children shoes that have been polished and placed near the windows and
if children have been naughty they get a little stick.
Usually people in the country side grow their own pigs which are
sacrificed for Christmas on the 20th of December, and the meat is cooked
in different ways for the Christmas meal, like home made
smoked/unsmoked sausages. Each part of the pig is used in different ways
to make different dishes. Mince is made and together with rice, onions
and spices is used for the stuffed cabbage or vine leaves, which are
called 'sarmale'. So pig is traditional for Christmas meal. On Christmas
Eve usually children go around houses and sing carols and get fruit,
sweets or money in exchange. On Christmas Day everyone has a big family
meal and visit relatives.
In the country side people dress as bears and goats and go and sing
special traditional songs at each house in the village. People from
Transylvania serve stuffed cabbage on Christmas Eve, and next day for
lunch. Most likely the reason for that custom is that stuffed cabbage
is the best on the second and third day after it was cooked. Moms can
prepare the food a day earlier, leaving more time for decorating and
organizing. Very practical.On 25th December, the whole family used to attend church and ate stuffed cabbage for lunch.
In the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated
very much. New Year was the important time - when 'Father Frost' brought
presents to children. With the fall of Communism, Christmas can be
openly celebrated - either on December 25th; or more often on January
7th. This unusual date is because the Russian Orthodox church uses the
old 'Julian' calendar for religious celebration days. Special Christmas
food includes cakes, pies and 'meat dumplings'.
The most important day is Christmas Eve. A special Christmas
meal is eaten on Christmas Eve - ham (pork), herring fish, and brown
beans - and this is the time when families give presents to each other.
Many people attend a church meeting early on Christmas Day.
United States And Canada
The USA and Canada are so multi-cultural that you will find many different
ways of celebrating Christmas. One example is: All year long children are told to behave, or they will get coal in
stocking. On Christmas Eve, they hang highly stylized stockings on the
mantle of the fireplace, then go to bed early so that they will find
presents in the morning. They are told that at midnight Santa
will come, bringing a huge bag of toys. He will come down through the
chimney, leave candy in the stockings and presents under the Christmas
tree (anything from a Pine or Fir to a Spruce), then plug one nostril
shoot up through the chimney. Cookies are traditionally left for him,
and a carrot is commonly left for Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer, very
part of Christmas tradition (Santa will land on the roof with his sleigh
and nine reindeer). On Christmas morning, things such as cinnamon rolls
or coffee cake are served for breakfast, and for dinner there is
typically ham or turkey (and occasionally regal plum pudding). That is it for
celebration — Boxing Day is never celebrated, Epiphany is only celebated
by Catholics, and Advent is
celebrated in almost all Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant
How do you and your family celebrate Christmas??
A total lunar eclipse will be visible in the nighttime sky late Dec. 20 and early Dec. 21.
The show will begin at 12:29 a.m. EST for the Western Hemisphere, according to NASA.
In total, the eclipse will last for 72 minutes - at 3:18 a.m. EST, the sun, Earth and moon will be almost exactly in line.
Lunar eclipses occur when the moon passes through the Earth's shadow.
The moon will turn red because of the Earth's atmosphere, which
retracts light onto the moon's surface.
Only people in North and Central America will be able to view the
The next one is due on April 15, 2014.
Wow!! Yes, it is that time again.
It seems that it is getting earlier and earlier every year!!
It is the beginning of the Christmas season, in the Crowsnest Pass.
Today, Friday November 12th, 2010, starts the beginning of this shopping season.
The Crowsnest Pass Chamber of Commerce presents "Community Pride Night". Devon Canada is a proud sponsor of this event.
The CNP Chamber will be hosting the annual Christmas Parade, starting at 7:00pm. The parade follows the regular route through downtown main street Blairmore.
Friday November 12th, 2010
- Businesses and Parks to light up at 5:00 pm
- Late night shopping 5:00 - 10:00 pm
- Parade - 7:00 pm - Starts at Side trax and ends at the Promoter.
- Coupon books available at Participating Merchants for the Christmas and late night promotion
- On Site Radio Promos and Turkey Trotter
- Hot Chocolate, bonfire and music in Gazebo Park
- 50/50 Draw
Many prizes listed in the Coupon Book and in Media.
- Entry forms in Coupon Books
Blairmore Lions cooking hamburgers in Gazebo Park
- Proceeds to go to the CNP Boys & Girls Club
Saturday November 13th, 2010
Participating Businesses List:
- Gallery of Sight and Sound
- Rexal Drugs
- Work 'N Play
- Allied Hardware
- Neat 'N Nifty
- Stone's Throw Cafe
- Copy Magic
- The Gifted Crow
- The greenhill
- Side Trax
- Tier One Travel
- Nifty Notions
- A & B Liquor
- Machelle's Memories
- Crowsnest Sewing and Vacuum
- Border Building Materials
Come out and join in the fun!!!
Today is the day when Canadians commemorate the sacrifices made by the men and women in our armed forces.
What are your memories of wartime? What do you think of Canada's current military role? What does Remembrance Day mean to you? How has wartime affected you and your family? Do you have any relative's who fought in the war? Have you personally lost any relative's during wartime? How do you honor and remember them?
Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a silent moment of remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace. We honour those who fought for Canada in the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as those who have served since then. More than 1,500,000 Canadians have served our country in this way, and more than 100,000 have died. They gave their lives and their futures so that we may live in peace.
We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument.
These wars touched the lives of Canadians of all ages, all races, all social classes. Fathers, sons, daughters, sweethearts: they were killed in action, they were wounded, and thousands who returned were forced to live the rest of their lives with the physical and mental scars of war. The people who stayed in Canada also served - in factories, in voluntary service organizations, wherever they were needed.
Yet for many of us, war is a phenomenon seen through the lens of a television camera or a journalist's account of fighting in distant parts of the world. Our closest physical and emotional experience may be the discovery of wartime memorabilia in a family attic. But even items such as photographs, uniform badges, medals, and diaries can seem vague and unconnected to the life of their owner. For those of us born during peacetime, all wars seem far removed from our daily lives.
We often take for granted our Canadian values and institutions, our freedom to participate in cultural and political events, and our right to live under a government of our choice. The Canadians who went off to war in distant lands went in the belief that the values and beliefs enjoyed by Canadians were being threatened. They truly believed that "Without freedom there can be no ensuring peace and without peace no enduring freedom."
By remembering their service and their sacrifice, we recognize the tradition of freedom these men and women fought to preserve. They believed that their actions in the present would make a significant difference for the future, but it is up to us to ensure that their dream of peace is realized. On Remembrance Day, we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country and acknowledge our responsibility to work for the peace they fought hard to achieve.
During times of war, individual acts of heroism occur frequently; only a few are ever recorded and receive official recognition. By remembering all who have served, we recognize their willingly-endured hardships and fears, taken upon themselves so that we could live in peace.
What Should We Remember?
Formal records tell us about the size and strength of armies, military strategy, and the outcome of battles. Such information is vital, yet to fully appreciate military history we must try to understand the human face of war. Loss of comrades, extreme living conditions, intense training, fear, as well as mental, spiritual and physical hardship helps illuminate what the individual sailor, soldier and airman experienced in battle.
The First World War 1914-1918
In the First World War, the Canadians' first major battle occurred at Ypres, Belgium, on April 22, 1915, where the Germans used poison gas. As approximately 150 tonnes of chlorine gas drifted over the trenches, Canadian troops held their line and stopped the German advance in spite of enormous casualties. Within 48 hours at Ypres and St. Julien, a third of the Canadians were killed.
Using outdated 19th century military strategy, Allied generals believed that sending wave after wave of infantry would eventually overwhelm the enemy. Soaring casualty rates proved that soldiers attacking with rifles and bayonets were no match for German machine guns. Each side dug in and soon the Western Front became a patchwork of trenches in France and Belgium stretching from Switzerland to the North Sea.
In April 1917, Canadians helped turn the tide of battle when they won a major victory at Vimy Ridge. This triumph came at high cost: more than ten thousand casualties in six days. Even with this victory, the war continued for more than a year. Finally, on November 11, 1918, the Armistice was signed and the Canadians took part in the triumphant entry into Mons, Belgium. Throughout this conflict, Canadians proved that they could pull their weight, and by their effort earned for Canada, a new place among the nations of the world.
The Second World War 1939-1945
During the Second World War, Canadians fought valiantly on battlefronts around the world. More than one million men and women enlisted in the navy, the army and the air force. They were prepared to face any ordeal for the sake of freedom. When the war was over, more than 42,000 had given their lives. On the home front as well, Canadians were active as munitions workers, as civil defence workers, as members of voluntary service organizations, and as ordinary citizens doing their part for the war effort.
In December 1941, Canadian soldiers were participants in the unsuccessful defence of Hong Kong against the Japanese; 493 were wounded and 557 were killed in battle or at the hands of the Japanese as prisoners-of-war (POWs). The situation faced by the Canadian POWs was horrible; they laboured long hours and were given very little to eat. The daily diet was rice - a handful for each prisoner. Occasionally, a concoction of scavenged potato peelings, carrot tops and buttercups was brewed.
Canadians played a leading role on the European front. On August 19, 1942, Canadians attacked the French port of Dieppe. Canadians made up almost 90 per cent of the assault force. The raid was a disaster. Out of a force of 4,963 Canadians, 3,367 were killed, wounded, or became POWs.
Canadians played an essential role as the war continued. They participated in the conquest of Sicily in 1943, and defeated the Nazis in Italy despite fierce resistance especially at Ortona and Rimini. On June 6, 1944, D-Day, Canadians were in the front lines of the Allied forces who landed on the coast of Normandy. All three Canadian services (Navy, Army, and Air Force) shared in the assault. In Normandy, the fighting was fierce, and the losses were heavy. Approximately 14,000 Canadians landed on Juno Beach and suffered 1,074 casualties (including 359 fatalities).
Canadians encountered fierce resistance from the German occupiers as they fought through Northwest Europe, particularly at Caen and Falaise, France, as well as the formidable task of clearing the English Channel ports in France and Belgium. They also saved the Allied advance from stalling by defeating the Nazis in the Scheldt estuary of Belgium and Holland - intense fighting over flooded terrain.
In May 1945, victory in Europe became a reality and millions celebrated V-E Day. Still ahead lay the final encounter with Japan. Then, on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb destroyed Nagasaki. On August 14, 1945, the Japanese accepted the Allied terms of unconditional surrender and the Second World War was over.
The Korean War 1950-1953
The hard-fought end to the Second World War did not provide Canadian troops with a long peace. By 1950, Canadian soldiers were mobilized on behalf of the United Nations (UN) to defend South Korea against an invasion by North Korea. By 1951, the People's Republic of China had joined North Korea against the UN force. In Korea, the Canadians fought at Kapyong, at Chail-li, in the advance across the Imjin River, and in the patrolling of the Chorwon Plain. When the hostilities ended in 1953, Canadians stayed as part of the peacekeeping force.
The conditions in Korea were often difficult, with harsh weather, rough terrain, and an elusive and skillful enemy. In their own camp, they had to deal with casualties, illness and limited medical facilities. The winter of 1951 was especially severe. They were living twenty-four hours a day in trenches, which provided some protection but little comfort.
Altogether, 26,791 Canadians served in the Korean War and another 7,000 served between the cease-fire and the end of 1955 when Canadian soldiers were repatriated home. There were 1,558 casualties, 516 fatal. While Canada's contribution formed only a small part of the total United Nations effort, on a per-capita basis, it was larger than most of the other nations in the UN force.
"It (Canada's participation in Korea) also marked a new stage in Canada's development as a nation. Canadian action in Korea was followed by other peacekeeping operations which have seen Canadian troops deployed around the world in new efforts to promote international freedom and maintain world peace."
From all of these records of wars, the observations of the individuals who took part stand out as reminders of the true nature of conflict. Through knowledge of the realities, we may work more diligently to prevent them from happening again.
How Do We Remember?
On November 11, especially, but also throughout the year, we have the opportunity to remember the efforts of these special Canadians. In remembering, we pay homage to those who respond to their country's needs. On November 11, we pause for two minutes of silent tribute, and we attend commemorative ceremonies in memory of our war dead.
Following the First World War a French woman, Madame E. Guérin, suggested to British Field-Marshall Earl Haig that women and children in devastated areas of France could produce poppies for sale to support wounded Veterans. The first of these poppies were distributed in Canada in November of 1921, and the tradition has continued ever since, both here and in many parts of the world.
Poppies are worn as the symbol of remembrance, a reminder of the blood-red flower that still grows on the former battlefields of France and Belgium. During the terrible bloodshed of the second Battle of Ypres in the spring of 1915, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, wrote of these flowers which lived on among the graves of dead soldiers:
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.
- John McCrae
The flowers and the larks serve as reminders of nature's ability to withstand the destructive elements of war by men, a symbol of hope in a period of human despair. In Canada, traditionally the poppies which we wear were made by disabled Veterans. They are reminders of those who died while fighting for peace: we wear them as reminders of the horrors of conflict and the preciousness of the peace they fought hard to achieve.
The two minutes of silence provide another significant way of remembering wartime while thinking of peace. Two minutes are scarcely enough time for thought and reflection. As we pause and bow our heads, we remember those brave men and women who courageously volunteered for the cause of freedom and peace.
For those who lived through these wars, remembering means thinking of comrades. It evokes memories of men and women who never returned home. Those born after the wars might picture the youthful soldiers who eagerly joined up from high schools, businesses and farms across the country, only to meet death while fighting against the enemy. They may imagine the anguish of a man leaving a new wife, a young family, an elderly mother. The important thing for all of us to remember is that they fought to preserve a way of life, Canadian values, and the freedom we enjoy today and often take for granted. Remember that the silence is to honour their sacrifice and memory.
There are memorials to commemorate the service of Canadian troops in Canada and overseas. The National War Memorial in Ottawa was originally designed to recognize those who served in the First World War. It has been rededicated to symbolize the sacrifice made by Canadians in the Second World War, in Korea, and in subsequent peacekeeping missions. The National War Memorial symbolizes the unstinting and courageous way Canadians give their service when values they believe in are threatened.
Advancing together through a large archway are figures representing the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have answered the call to serve; at the top of the arch are two figures, emblems of peace and freedom.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located next to the National War Memorial and contains the remains of an unknown Canadian First World War soldier who was exhumed from a cemetery near Vimy Ridge. The Tomb and its Unknown Soldier represents all Canadians, whether they be navy, army, air force or merchant marine, who died or may die for their country in all conflicts - past, present, and future.
The Books of Remembrance which lie in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower are another record of the wars. In addition, most cities and towns across the country have dedicated a monument, a building, or a room to their native sons and daughters who gave their lives. These commemorative locations are an enduring record of the losses suffered by communities as Canadians went forward to fight for what they believed was right.
One day every year, we pay special homage to those who died in service to their country. We remember these brave men and women for their courage and their devotion to ideals. We wear poppies, attend ceremonies, and visit memorials. For one brief moment of our life, we remember why we must work for peace every day of the year.
- Source: Veterans Affairs Canada