November 11th, 2010
The above photo card was a friend of my grandfather’s whose name was Bernie. He had no family and was a great companion to Grampy Knight until he died in the trenches in WWI. Grampy always told me if anything happened to him to look after Bernie’s picture so someone would always remember. I still have it today.
When the sun rises today in Canada it becomes the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge. Today should be nothing short of a day of respect for the men and women that have and continue to fight for our countries.
As a child my father and grandfather would don their dress overcoats, berets, their war medals and proudly march with their fellow war heroes behind the flag bearer of The Cowansville Canadian Legion Branch Number 99 on November 11th. The photo of Bernie was always kept in a business envelope in my Grandfather’s upper right pocket.
Grampy Knight had fought with the British Army in WWI in France and had been one of the first soldiers to be poisoned with mustard gas in the trenches. My father had participated in WWII with the Canadian Army and his greatest disappointment was that I never followed suit.
As a child I would always march in the Remembrance Day parade with the Brownies and then later the Girl Guides. We would stand on the frozen front lawn of Cowansville High School and listen to speeches and see the widows place their wreaths on the cenotaph.
At 11 am the lonely sound of the “Last Post” played with the mandatory two minute silence following. It was always so deathly quiet you could hear the ghosts of the dead soldiers whisper. In the previous weeks the Legion members would sell poppy badges that everyone still wears in Canada to remember all those who were lost in the wars.
Each November 11th we would stand and solemnly recite the poem “In Flanders Fields” and I remember it like yesterday. The poem was written by Canadian John McCrae and my grandfather had met him during the war and the poem was written upon a scrap of paper on the back of Colonel Lawrence Cosgrave in the trenches. He wrote it during a lull in the bombings on May 3, 1915, after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, the day before.
It was first published on December 8, 1915 in Punch magazine, in London, England and became a poem that is has always been related to war heroes like Bernie. If anyone after reading this poem does not understand what our military goes through everyday, then please watch the video. Even though some of my memory blows through the wind now, I can still remember every word of that poem by heart. I remember them for Bernie.
Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun