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Remembrance Day Stories

Underway

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Today I drove up to Brentwood near the Victoria Airport for Remembrance Day.

Before the cermony started a woman in her mid 60's walked over and struck up a conversation. Apparently I looked a bit like her son who is on the Kuwait mission with the CAF. Her name was Heather and we chatted for a bit until the cermony started.

We stood there quietly watching the ceremony until about the point where the wreaths began to get laid down, at which point she reached out and tightly gripped my hand. Still watching, not saying anything, just holding my hand.

The cermony finished about 10min later and she turned to me and let go of my hand. "Thank you for being a friend today" she stated and then walked away.

Reminded me that sometimes the families sacrifice more then the ones wearing the uniform. She's worried and afraid for her son, and he's probably bored sitting in a TOC as Duty Officer not realizing what mom is going through.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Today I drove up to Brentwood near the Victoria Airport for Remembrance Day.

Before the cermony started a woman in her mid 60's walked over and struck up a conversation. Apparently I looked a bit like her son who is on the Kuwait mission with the CAF. Her name was Heather and we chatted for a bit until the cermony started.

We stood there quietly watching the ceremony until about the point where the wreaths began to get laid down, at which point she reached out and tightly gripped my hand. Still watching, not saying anything, just holding my hand.

The cermony finished about 10min later and she turned to me and let go of my hand. "Thank you for being a friend today" she stated and then walked away.

Reminded me that sometimes the families sacrifice more then the ones wearing the uniform. She's worried and afraid for her son, and he's probably bored sitting in a TOC as Duty Officer not realizing what mom is going through.
Was she single 😁 hehehehehe
 

OldSolduer

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We attended the service at Woodlands, MB - it has a Legion where the President is a friend and coworker. Shirl is "their" Silver Cross Mother.

My sister in law and her husband - whom I regard as a brother - informed us their neighbor the Mayor of Stonewall - is working with the Stonewall RCL branch to get Niner Domestic to Ottawa as the Silver Cross Mother in the future.
 

Eaglelord17

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Did 3 ceremonies today all in small communities, likely a max of 300 people in total attendance over the 3 locations. I have to say, they were the best ceremonies I have been to so far, relatively short but effective. All the people who showed up did so despite many of them having to travel a good distance to get there at inconvenient times. In those communities I heard/saw more people sing O'Canada and God Save the King than I have heard in much larger ceremonies in more urban environments. It was quite a eye opening experience.
 

medicineman

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I worked today...was signing out to one of the docs and he says thank you after getting report, I said "No Worries, see you later"...but then he said "No, Thank You for what you used to do". Was very surprised to find I'd had significantly longer service than he'd first thought when he asked.

That was a little better than the patient that was overly embellishing what they did during their service. I won't go into it for obvious reasons, but it's almost always the same story with a few variations that I've heard heard from more than a few people over the years...usually from a generation of Cold Warriors that seem to feel they were left out my not getting squashed in the Fulda Gap. I'm also amazed at how many of them, even when caught, keep digging when you point out flaws or drop not subtle hints you know they're BS'ing.
 

daftandbarmy

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I attended the service run by my kids' school. Several hundred students, staff, faculty and family members attended.

A central part of the event is where a group of students stand on stage and read out the names of over 100 people (students and teachers) from their school who died during WW1 & 2, then snuff out a candle as each name is called and a photo is shown.

Clearly, quite a few brothers paid the ultimate price for freedom including the Worthingtons, whose graves I've visited in Normandy.

Talk about getting you right in the feels.

One of the candles 'hung in there' a bit and I found myself mentally cheering for it a little too much ;)
 

GR66

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I attended the service run by my kids' school. Several hundred students, staff, faculty and family members attended.

A central part of the event is where a group of students stand on stage and read out the names of over 100 people (students and teachers) from their school who died during WW1 & 2, then snuff out a candle as each name is called and a photo is shown.

Clearly, quite a few brothers paid the ultimate price for freedom including the Worthingtons, whose graves I've visited in Normandy.

Talk about getting you right in the feels.

One of the candles 'hung in there' a bit and I found myself mentally cheering for it a little too much ;)
My boys always had a pretty good service in high school, but my younger son who is currently attending Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario (a stones throw from CFB Borden) texted me to complain that there was nothing done on Remembrance Day. Not even a PA announcement or minute of silence or a comment from the Prof. Very sad.
 

Booter

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These little ceremonies are the most “in touch” I find anyways. About 52 minutes in they move outside- before reading the list of their community members names that died in the war serving- it’s an impressive list for a place so small. They have a lot of vets in their families- and a substantial amount of loss.

6 wreaths and they are done. No “bobs butcher shop presents” for 200 wreaths that almost becomes advertising,
 

lenaitch

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My boys always had a pretty good service in high school, but my younger son who is currently attending Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario (a stones throw from CFB Borden) texted me to complain that there was nothing done on Remembrance Day. Not even a PA announcement or minute of silence or a comment from the Prof. Very sad.
Very sad indeed. I would expect that, if asked, the response would be a string of statements regarding 'triggering', 'inclusion', 'safe space', etc.
 

dimsum

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Very sad indeed. I would expect that, if asked, the response would be a string of statements regarding 'triggering', 'inclusion', 'safe space', etc.
If they did that, I'd respond with a question about what group they're trying to include by not holding a minute of silence.
 

medicineman

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I attended the service run by my kids' school. Several hundred students, staff, faculty and family members attended.

A central part of the event is where a group of students stand on stage and read out the names of over 100 people (students and teachers) from their school who died during WW1 & 2, then snuff out a candle as each name is called and a photo is shown.

Clearly, quite a few brothers paid the ultimate price for freedom including the Worthingtons, whose graves I've visited in Normandy.

Talk about getting you right in the feels.

One of the candles 'hung in there' a bit and I found myself mentally cheering for it a little too much ;)
As you know, I'm an Alumnus/Old Boy. It wasn't lost on us during my Grade 12 year when they told us that the number of folks' names on those plaques was just a few shy of my entire class size. A few of our staff were Second World War vets - my first French teacher was RN Fleet Air Arm, our librarian and one of the History teachers was an ex-Para. A few others had been National Service - my geography teacher was an officer in the RA, one of the rugby coaches had been an officer with one of the Ghurka battalions. I unfortunately haven't been able to get back for a service, even when I was posted back there...as ironically I was usually parade Sgt Maj for my unit at our own service - we'd do run through's usually the day The School did their assembly. We always did our's at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery kitty corner to the Base Hospital - on the run through day, I'd also lead a walk through so that people saw some of the history that was there.
 

Colin Parkinson

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One of the Army Cadets attending our hall after the Ceremonies mentioned that he had been a Coxswain in our Corp, just before I had started showing up. I went down to our office and grabbed one of the Chinese made Bosun's Pipes I had ordered (they look nice, but don't have the best sound) and presented it to him as a memento of his service to the Corp. He had a very big smile on his face. I make it a point to give them to every kid that makes Coxswain when they age out.
 

lenaitch

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My boys always had a pretty good service in high school, but my younger son who is currently attending Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario (a stones throw from CFB Borden) texted me to complain that there was nothing done on Remembrance Day. Not even a PA announcement or minute of silence or a comment from the Prof. Very sad.
On further digging, it seems Georgian did hold ceremonies:

 

Blackadder1916

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On further digging, it seems Georgian did hold ceremonies:


And they even publicized them.


 

GR66

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And they even publicized them.


Interesting. Seems like it may not have been well publicised on campus other than a posting on the website. I'll ask my son about it when he's home next.
 

Blackadder1916

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Interesting. Seems like it may not have been well publicised on campus other than a posting on the website. I'll ask my son about it when he's home next.

It is also mentioned on their twitter and facebook pages, where I came across this link.

 

FSTO

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This came into my email inbox. Thought I'd share it here:

An open letter to my great uncle on Remembrance Day​

A Flatlander reader shares a letter he wrote to his late great uncle who fought in the First War.
BY DARRELL HORNHISTORY ● NOVEMBER 16, 2022

Fifty years after the Great War ended, you were still wearing your uniform, at least part of it, every day of your life; I saw you. The long-sleeved pressed khaki shirt with arm garters to keep your cuffs up from the garden work, suspenders hanging, wool trousers carrying a crisp crease, square laced ¾ height black leather boots with a shine and often, the incongruent herringbone tweed newsboy cap. Incongruent because even as a little boy, I was sure that soldiers didn’t wear hats like that, but I suppose it was the one accommodation you made beyond the remainder of your attire to civilian life, as you would have no need for a helmet in Carlyle, Saskatchewan in the 1960s.

Ever present and always was your bent briar pipe, perpetually either gripped in your teeth and producing dense blue clouds or in your great large calloused hands receiving a furious reaming with some curious tool dedicated to the purpose and always in your pocket. You fashioned every possible type of construction; I remember a tiny grain elevator, with the burnt Eddy Matches thus sacrificed and little drops of Elmer’s Glue. You had all the different coloured pouches of flavours of Sail Pipe Tobacco, the green, the red and yellow, and you’d ask me, “Which colour should I smoke, little man?” and I always chose green because it smelled the best. And you’d chuckle, “Okay then, green it is!” I’d sit on the floor by your knee with my legs crossed, getting just a little dizzy.

When we arrived from Regina, a two-hour drive that took forever in the backseat of our white Ford Fairlane, me, my mom and dad and Grandma Jessie, your sister, in spring, summer or fall, you’d be sitting in a pressed back wooden kitchen chair at the foot of your steps in the shade of a gigantic lilac bush, so pungent in season, it overpowered even the pullings from your pipe. Just as sure, Aunt Lila was in the kitchen, baking some pie just for me. From home canned apples in spring, rhubarb from your garden (more sugar, please) and Saskatoons we picked in summer and pumpkin in the fall, with great heaps of thoroughly unpasteurized, dangerous, farm-fresh whipped cream. I was always curious and didn’t quite get it as a kid, was Aunt Lila named after the bush or was the bush named after her? It was very confusing. I called them ‘Lila trees’ for years.
Now our house was small, but your house was tiny. One bedroom for you and auntie, a cot on a porch where I slept with my dad, and a hide-a-bed in the wee living room for mom and grandma. With all the leaves of the table folded out, we crowded in and around at every holiday and during summer vacations, playing marathon matches of Canasta (hand and foot, of course) late into every night. I have no idea how Santa ever managed to sneak in. Then, after the last hand was played, we’d all cuddle up.

And late, very late in the night, your screams would start.

There were two variations: “Get ready boys, get ready, they’re coming over,” and the worst, the most anguished call, “It’s gas, it’s gas, they’re gassing us boys…oh god”. I’d ask my dad, when I was maybe four or five, as young as I can remember, “What’s the matter with Uncle Lloyd?” A veteran of the Second War, he didn’t say much, just “bad dreams” and then he’d hug me tight.
After a few years, I didn’t ask anymore. We’d listen while Aunt Lila calmed you, and my dad would always hold me close so I wouldn’t be afraid. These things were never mentioned in the light.

Grandma and the aunties would talk about the war sometimes. I asked them if it was bad, and they said, “Oh yes, but the flu (of the great 1918 pandemic) was much worse. You never knew if this day might be your last when you woke up.” Not much different from the war in some ways, I suppose. And I guess for those women; the flu was worse than the war because it was here, and that was over there somewhere. But they all stood by you; menfolk never wavered. And none of you men spoke of any of it. But Remembrance Day was always a huge deal. You had every poppy from the first year. They had poppies pinned in a row above the kitchen table.

Uncle Lloyd, you never really seemed to stop coughing. Now you might think, with all the smoking… but neither did Uncle Russell, who didn’t smoke, his cough was worse? My Grandpa Ernest died before I was born, coughing up blood at a picnic. His lung cancer was undiagnosed. He never stopped coughing, either, so I guess no one ever figured anything was wrong at the end. You all signed up, brothers in arms, for the war to end all wars together.

Our visits continued, the season in, season out, year after year. There were many more memories. I remember the long cold day in the duck blind, dad, me, you and Uncle Ralph. You cradled the gun in your arms like a child all day long. Just staring, so still, shooting at nothing. Sometimes there were nightmares, sometimes not. And then, one summer, everything changed between you and me.
I was probably about twelve, and the Vietnam war was in full fury, as were the anti-war protests. And I had become, even at that somewhat tender age, radicalized. All war was wrong. My hair was as long as my father would allow, and I was a full-on peacenik. So I confronted you one afternoon in the garden, under the ‘Lila’ bush. “How could you have fought in that war? How could anyone ever do that? What did it accomplish? They just went ahead twenty years later and had World War II. WHAT WAS THE POINT?” And I will never forget the look on your face, the way your body went stiff. There was a long silence; your lip was quivering. You coughed. You looked pale. I think your eyes were wet. And you just walked away, back into the house and Aunt Lila. I never saw you much after that.

In the summers, we would always visit Glenn Morris cemetery. Up the dusty gravel road, about a mile and a half north of town, in the lee of Moose Mountain, on the slopes where your family homesteaded, often driving out in your big blue ’57 Chevy Bel Air to visit where my grandpa and all the others were buried, and where you would all rest together one day. We’d rake and weed and tidy up. And you and Aunt Lila would linger over the graves of your two boys, Howard and Anson, who died very young of sickness that people didn’t die from anymore. I always figured you had loved me a little more because you had extra left over.

I’m so sorry, Uncle Lloyd, I didn’t understand. I was a kid. I was a fool.

Love, your great (not so great) nephew.
Darrell Horn
 
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