Witness to Remembrance
Learning history where history was made. That’s the focus of this new Legion Magazine post aimed at opening up discussion on visits to Canadian memorials and battlefields. From France and Belgium to Italy, Hong Kong, Korea and the high seas, there are many sacred locations, including some right here at home, where Canadians served and died. Year after year they are visited by thousands of Canadians who want to honour this service and sacrifice. Collectively, these witnesses to remembrance represent a cross-section of Canadian society, from young students to families of service personnel to war veterans. We are please to present this online forum as a way of encouraging their discussion.
by Theresa Neill grade 11
Churchill war room
When we had entered the room everything had been as it was in the 1940s. Nothing was different. Even the sense of frustration pain and suffering was captured by the way the museum was set out. It was truly an eye opening event for all those who attended.
Imperial war museum
It was history’s resting place. The blitz experience was one that all of the tour had to experience to shed light on the true cruelty of war.
Normandy and Juno beach.
During this event the entire tour met at a small town on the coast where floating docks still rest. There was a small museum where one could learn about the history of the docks and the entire purpose of the invasion of Normandy. The centre was an eye open of the time and practice needed to engage in the advance.
The tour of Maxwell Heights and Anderson C.V.I being Canadians had to see what the men saw when getting off the beach for the first time at Juno. When the gates opened the young men must have been scared for their lives, their loved ones and the the legacy of the entire operations success or failure. We felt the seance of pride for those men when we stepped on that beach. Those men were heroes, they were Canadians at their very best!
This was the cemetery that Maxwell and Anderson were paired up with. My soldier that I paired with was a young man with more courage and charisma than any man I know today. James Clelland Richardson was a piper who won the Victoria Cross for leading himself and his comrades into battle when times seemed lost. When I walked over to his grave there were crosses by his grave, poppies everywhere, and notes from many people many of which simply said thank you for your life’s work. This was the men’s work. They died for it, they died for us. When I say many of the graves with no poppies, no crosses I felt that no one cared, that is was for nothing. I walked up to the middle of the memorial and there was a note from many students, teachers, family, Canadians it said “Your life was not for nothing, your life was for those who could not fight. We will remember you, you will not be forgotten. thank you”. I was over whelmed. I am proud to call myself Canadian and represent these men.
Everything was dark, depressing, and uneasy. It was as if the Germans who fought were not men, they were demons of evil, yet they were fighting because they believed in the cause. They did as they were told just as the allies were. Color and style of the tomb stones should not should who was victor, or loser. They were men, men this true pride in what they believed in. It was sad to see the men did not have their own graves, they had to share. They were men, and should be shown that the are respected for what they have done. It was an eye opener, that war is not as easy I as all the high schools make it out to be, or as cool as the video games make it out to be. Once you die, you do not respawn it is real. Very much real.
Theresa Neill grade 11