Sacrifice Remembered

How many times have you heard the "what Canada lacks in history it makes up for in geography" statement? Have I told you my impression of that? It's a load of bull. Canada has a vibrant history, unfortunately our educators see fit to present it in the world's most boring manner possible.

I did a double major in university - one part anthropology and one part history. Both drew me in because of one thing - stories. Both tell stories, be they of a person or a country or a time. Canada has fantastic stories, ones that get lost and forgotten all too much in the dry recitation of facts and dates.

But sometimes people remember. RH Thompson, whom some of you probably know best as Jasper Dale from Road to Avonlea, remembered. Thankfully he went one step further and acted. It is largely due to him that we are recognizing Vigil 1914-1918. I caught him on Canada AM this morning and he said something that I hadn't quite thought of. We have only one WWI veteran still living in Canada, John Babcock. He's 107 years old. He was fifteen when he joined Canada's Expeditionary Forces. FIFTEEN.

Thompson said that when he passes, the living history of WWI also passes in Canada. The book will close and cease to be written.

But it must continue to be read. That's our job. To remember. To honour.

The men and women who volunteered in WWI faced horrors that we cannot even begin to imagine. Life in the trenches, in the medical tents.... All we have left of their sacrifices are written memories, memories that must be read and shared.

We owe so much to those men and women who volunteers and served. We owe so much to the men and women who stayed at home and bought Victory Bonds and planted Victory Gardens. Who knitted socks and sent care packages to their loved ones. Who did not break faith.

They called WWI The Great War - The War To End All Wars. It saw the introduction of chemical warfare, tanks, submarines. In Canada we think of Passchedales, the Somme, Ypres, and of course, Vimy. It was Vimy that saw Canadian forces unite for the first time as a national unit under Canadian command.

In many ways it was WWI that defined Canada as a nation.

But there were sacrifices made that we cannot forget.

Wear your poppy. Thank a veteran. Remember.