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It was 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month ...
Posted On 11/11/2014 14:06:50 by yourchoice

At the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, WE WILL REMEMBER!

We are not able to get out of our yard today (a winter blanket was left in our area a couple of days ago), so we watched the National War Memorial Ceremony in Ottawa on TV.

Today has brought to mind an experience we had some years ago when my husband's next oldest brother made his first trip to England with us. He had always wanted to visit his father's home in Chester-le-Street, and Durham Cathedral, where their father had been baptized. He also was interested to visit the town of Thirsk where a relative is well remembered for the farm implements, bearing his name, were manufactured. He also told us that if we had any time to spare, he would love to visit the Imperial War Museum and the underground Winston Churchill War Rooms in London.

When our relatives heard of his interest, they surprised their Canadian visitors by making arrangements to take us on a road trip, through the Chunnel under the English Channel, to Normandy, France. We sat on a grassy hillside overlooking Juno Beach (one of five beaches in the Normandy landings of the Allied invasion of German occupied France) where the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944. We drove along the French coast to Bayeux, where there were many monuments and museums in tribute to the courage of the British, Canadian and American armies on that day. But it was our visit to the Normandy American Cemetery, one of 10 American cemeteries, where there are 9,387 burials of US service men and women, and the Beny-sur-Mer Canadan War Cemetery, where there were 2,048 graves, that created lasting memories for us. The grounds were beautifully landscaped and carefully tended to by French citizens, including many school children, as evidence of the continued respect and gratitude of the French people, for the sacrifices by allied forces for the liberation of France. What I was seeing was real, no photographs in glossy books and magazines, and the reality hit hard.

There was no conscription in Canada, but thousands of Canadians enlisted voluntarily for military service, while many others contributed at home in the farms and factories. in supporting roles. My background was in the farming and ranching community, and I don't remember any family members who served in active duty, but many of the men were trained as reservists. My now know that I needed to visit France, to see the "full" story.

It is now just past noon, and the ceremony is over in Ottawa. Many who wore red poppies on their left side of the chest, near their heart, formed a long procession past the tomb of the Unknown Soldier to lay their poppies on the tomb. They were veterans, active military personnel, dignitaries, members of the royal family, adults and children. It was a moving and final tribute of the day.

Tags: Remembrance Veterans Respect


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