Monday, May 26, 2014

Images and Reflections of War

An English RECRUIT POSTER for The Great War
It is far better to face the bullets
than to be killed at home by a bomb.


This year is the 100th Anniversary in Commemoration of The Great War
(1914-1918) later renamed ...World War I

Recently, there's been much publicity about Wartime Memories and Honours to those who fought.

D-Day June 6, 1944 
This coded designation was used to signify 
any important invasion or military operation.
Since then, it has referred to the Allied landings on France's Normandy Beaches.

Veterans Commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic

The Burl-Oak Naval Veterans and Royal Canadian Naval Association (RCNA) will be holding their annual “Battle of the Atlantic” service on Sunday to commemorate the longest continual battle of the Second World War.  It remembers the naval ships and crew members lost in this battle waged from 1939 to 1945.  The Canadian Navy, which escorted 25,000 ships and 185 million tons of supplies to Great Britain, lost 31 naval ships and more than 2,000 crewmen.

Leading Seaman, Nancy Bunting, Drops Flowers from the Bow of the the names of the vessels lost during the Battle of the Atlantic were read. Canadian Naval vessels and merchant ships were lost as well as numerous maritime patrol aircraft; more than 5,000 members of the  RCN, the RCAF and Merchant Navy perished.

Ceremonies to Remember D-Day

70 Years After They Hit the Beaches...
this may be the Last Chance to Thank many Veterans!

The Winnipeg Rifles and the Regina Rifles of the 3rd  Canadian Infantry Division were expecting little  resistance as they stormed ashore on June 6,1944 at of the landing points for Canadian troops on Juno Beach.  The invaders had been told they faced a third-rate German infantry division with inferior equipment.  BUT...the Germans were well dug in!
Few of our combatants are still surviving today at an average age of 89.

 Many dignitaries and more than a thousand Canadian youth and cadets are expected to attend the Juno Beach Memorial ceremonies.  The French have never forgotten the contributions made by Canadians… (including the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada)...the Americans, British, Australasians...and other allied troops who began storming ashore at beaches code-named: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and the early morning hours of June 6, 1944.

A School Girl's Memory

A woman recently wrote:  As a school girl, I've memories of war coupon books...the rationing of sugar, meat and gasoline...war saving bonds...knitting squares to make quilts...baking Christmas fruit send to our troops. As kids, we'd save our pennies to buy a 25-cent-war-savings-stamp on Fridays at school.  It was a 3-room-school and every morning we had an assembly with Grades 1 through 12.  We'd sing the “Star Spangled Banner,”  and close with “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “O Canada”. It's hard to imagine that happening today!

Supporting Our Troops Today and Tomorrow
I attribute the following story to Carolyn:

Will You Give This to My Daddy?

Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference.  While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer.  I immediately turned around and witnessed ONE of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.  Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone  (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me!  I'm not alone...I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families. Of course, I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line every day for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear of reprisal.  Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our Service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers.  He kneeled down and said,”Hi...”

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her Daddy for her.  The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try...and what did she want to give to her Daddy.  Then suddenly, the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek. The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now.  As the Mom was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. 

When this temporarily single Mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second...then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.  After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney...bent down and said this to her, “I spoke to your Daddy and he told me to give this to you.”  He then hugged the little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek.  He finished by saying, “Your Daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.”

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people returned their applause.  As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own.  That young soldier in one last act of selflessness turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to Remember Everyday All of Our Soldiers
and Their Families...and thank God for them and their sacrifices.
At the end of the day, it's good to be an American!  It's good to be a Canadian!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written May 5, 2014
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