Monday is Remembrance Day here, a stat holiday here in God's country, a
voluntary holiday only in the godless provinces further east.  The Globe
and Mail found a "thin brigade" of 13 centenarians who are WWI vets, and
reprints their stories:


The Prairie Provinces gave up martyrs to the two world wars out of
proportion to our thin population. We entered WWI as part of the British
Empire, for all practical intents and purposes, and ended it under
Lieut.-Gen. Currie as the Canadian Corps (I joined the Church as a child
while living in "Currie Barracks PMQ's" in Calgary) but entered WWII as
a truly independent dominion, waiting a full week after Britain declared
war in September 1939, just to make the point. We had one of the 5
beaches at D-Day [okay, fellow Canuckistanis -- which one?], and had an
easier time of it than the fresh US troops to the south, or the
demoralized Brits to the north, partly because of our suffering at the
earlier "dry run" of Dunkirk. Most pilots in the Battle of Britain were
prairie boys from Canada who had learned to fly crop dusters (I almost
wrote "crust dopers") as teenagers.

The poppy we all wear in our lapels at this time of year was codified as
the memorial token of relief from suffering and the secular redemption
of a country, by a Canadian medic in WWI in Flanders who, true to the
cruel cut of the statistician's scythe, fell victim not to a shell or a
bullet, but pneumonia, weeks before the end of the war (I speak of the
poem, "In Flanders Fields," by Lieut.-Col. Dr. John McRae, whose name I
actually found in Wellington County, Ontario, church records while doing
FREP extraction work about 5 years ago. So one presumes his eternal
exaltation are now opened up for him as well). McRae wrote it on a piece
of scrap paper after failing to find enough remains of a pal to
constitute a proper burial, and threw it away. But it was retrieved by
an unknown person and sent to Punch magazine in London, who published it
a year after his death.

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he
will pick himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the
author’s employer, nor those of any organization with which the author
may be associated.

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