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My First Memory Of Remembrance Day — The Legion Kettle

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My First Memory Of Remembrance Day — The Legion Kettle

by Linda Knight Seccaspina

For Marjorie Gaw

Someone asked me why I post so much about Remembrance Day. Yes, I do post for days, and believe you me; it’s full of love. I was raised by former military men from the past wars that taught me that yes, there was crying, lots of crying, on Remembrance Day, but absolutely no shirking. NO siree! You had better be ready at dawn to march in the Cowansville, Quebec parade where your grandfather was one of the dignitaries, and your father marched in the parade with the other World War 2 vets.

I was raised on pomp and circumstance- pointe finale, as they say in French.

Every Saturday morning I would awake to rousing military marching tunes by John Philip Sousa being played on the old Hi Fi in the family living room. John Philip Sousa was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known primarily for American military and patriotic marches.  I have no idea how my father Arthur J. Knight found this musical passion, but he got it from somewhere. He loved the military so much that he joined the Canadian Army during WW II, but never made it past the training session in Georgia because the war ended. I often wondered if he wanted to follow my Grandfather Fred Knight’s footsteps as he returned from the  trenches in France after WW1 with medals and and a lifetime encyclopedia full of stories.

I never remember asking my father to turn the death defying volume down as he chose to crouch next to the Hi Fi speaker with his ear glued to whatever was being played. I figured if he kept it up for enough years he was going to lose his hearing– and then there was the fact that he put up with my Beatle music. No teenager would ever want to mess around with their father’s views on their music. “The Washington Post” by Sousa was his absolute favourite, and then that usually followed with the “King Cotton March” with some added piping and drumming from the Grenadier Guards thrown in for good measure. This wasn’t a passing fancy- he would listen to music, and absorb it– but you would never hear about it in his conversations. I don’t think anyone knew except for my sister and a few others.

I can remember two things in my early life,besides the music. One sitting on a bed in the Allan Memorial Centre watching my mother playing cards, who had no idea who I was. The next thing I remember is a great commotion at age 3 in my grandmother’s bedroom on the night of November 11th.- Remembrance Day.

After the days solemn occasions the Branch #99 Legion in Cowansville had a huge party that same night. Children of course were not allowed, and they spent the evening drawing tickets for various prizes among other things. I remember the bedroom being very cold as it always was because it was heated by the woodstove downstairs. My eyes were blurry and they were all crowded around me shouting that I had won a kettle at the Legion. My grandmother of course probably put my name on some tickets and here was this kettle two inches from my face being waved around. Was it to be mine?

I never did see that kettle again, except on my grandmother’s woodstove. I remember they soon turned the lights off and told me to go back to sleep. Go back to sleep? After winning a kettle at the Legion? How does one do that LOL? Anyways, there was to be no sleeping because my father had gone downstairs and turned on my grandfather’s Hi Fi and blasted the Massed Pipes and Drums throughout the house at full volume. I think that is the first time I cried hearing the pipes; more likely because I was scared. Today, and every day I remember all of those who lost their lives for us in past wars and I thank them.

“Remembrance Day is when the country stops for two minutes of silence, to pay respects to those who gave their lives and our veterans who fought for our freedom.”

—Douglas Phillips, Canadian writer

Grandfather Frederick J. Knight British Army World War 1
Great Grandmother Mary came over to Canada with her son Fred when he emigrated to Cowansville, Quebec after the war. His father Alexander Arthur Knight had left them. He ran a music publishing business in London to only die upon his entry into the United States to become a songwriter at the age of 53. His body was sent back and buried in Plymouth, but the cemetery was bombed in World War 2 and everything was destroyed. ( this is the postcard family kept all these years). Every time my grandfather tried to get her to immigrate she showed him this postcard and said this is what happens when you run away to America.
Armée – Militaires – Jour du Souvenir
Jour du Souvenir. De g. à d. : John Turner, Lionel Bélanger, Joseph-Léon Deslières, Roland Désourdy, Rév. Carl Gustafson, Jean-J. Bertrand, Rév. H. J. Isaacs, F. J. Knight (La Voix de l’Est, 13 novembre 1957)
Légion Canadienne
Élections à la Légion Canadienne. De g. à d., 1ère rangée : Grant Paterson, Arthur Barratt, Albert Strange, Yvon Gaudreau, Jacques Maurice. 2e rangée : F. J. Knight, Charles Renaud, Larry Labrecque, Albert Gagnon, Raymond Farrell, Malcolm Cady, Buster Damant (La Voix de l’Est, 18 janvier 1958 from Ville De Cowansville 1958

Cowansville, July 4 – The Canadian Legion, Cowansville branch, will ignaugurate Monday at 8.30 p.m., a drive to erect a fitting Cowansville Veteran’s Memorial Hall building in this city.Members of the Cowansville Branch, No. 99, of the legion are seeking premises containing necessary rooms for meetings and recreation. The site for the building has been given by Miss Nina M. Nesbitt, of Cowansville, and plans for the building have been provisionally approved.On the evening of the inauguration the speakers will be His Worship Mayor E.A. Boisvert, Maj. Gen. C.B. Price, D.S.O., D.C.M., E.D., president of the Canadian Legion, and Capt. Henry Gonthier, past provincial president.Veterans will then parade through the streets of Cowansville and a street dance will follow. The board of trustees is composed of Mayor Eugene Boisvert, L.L. Bruck, H.F. Vilas, A.G. Scott, D.J. Barker. Co-chairmen of the Cowansville Legion Memorial Hall Building Fund are, R.L. Brault and J.H. Wood, M.B.E., E.D. The president of the local legion is F.J. Knight.-The Montreal Gazette, July 6, 1946

Club Lions
Le comité de la vente d’essence à Cowansville ayant eu lieu le 2 juin au garage B.A. Service Station et au garage Mitch Bedard Auto Enrg. au profit des Lions pour l’aménagement du parc municipal. Première rangée : MM. Arthur Knight, M. Kastello, G. Dean, S. Harrington, B. Mc Crum. Deuxième rangée : MM. D. Morrison, Gordon Snyder, responsables; Vincent Léonard et L. Labrecque (La Voix de l’Est, 4 juin 1957)

Branch 99 of the Cowansville Legion that my Dad and grandfather marched in year-Photo from Ville de Cowansville

The Story of Trenches –Fred Knight Legion Branch #99 Cowansville

Our Fathers Never Talked About the War — Clippings of Norman Melville Guthrie

  1. The Names of the Exempt of Lanark County- WW1
  2. The Fighting Lads of Lanark County WW1–Who Do You Know?
  3. “Nanny Shail’s Nephew”– Gerald Whyte World War 2 Veteran
  4. Remembering Private Gordon Willard Stewart WW 2 Veteran
  1. 90 Day Fiance and Mail Order and War Brides
  2. The Home Guard of Carleton Place
  3. The War Children that Tried to Come to Canada–SS City of Benares
  4. The Children of Ross Dhu –Evacuation to Canada
  5. Does Anyone Know What This is?
  6. The Very Sad Tale of Horace Garner “Sparky” Stark of Carleton Place
  7. Did You Ever Notice This in Beckwith Park? Thanks to Gary Box
  8. George Eccles Almonte Hero!

Images of Remembrance in Carleton Place

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Yesterday I read an article about the 11 Canadian War Heroes we Canadians should never forget and was gobsmacked at the omission of John McCrea. So because he should never be forgotten I have taken some pictures of our local Carleton Place windows—and please play the video while  viewing.

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Lest we never forget.

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below…
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields…
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae