Heroes

Growing up in a military family, I’ve always been immersed in the military way of life. I was born in 1984, and I’ve lived through some pretty historic times in my short life as of yet. 

Although I was just young, I recall watching Russian tanks in Afghanistan on the news, I remember watching on the news as a Canadian C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft crashed in the Arctic near CFS Alert. I watched American warplanes in the first Gulf War, and several other wars and conflicts. Who can forget the various terrorist attacks and the Rwandan Genocide, in which millions of innocent people were murdered.

During WWI and WWII, Canadian men took part and contributed to some of the greatest victories in wartime. Canadians helped take Vimy Ridge, Canadians fought hard on Juno Beach during D-Day, and Canadians also fought a very bloody war in the Italian and Sicily campaign, and as a result, Canada has had a very proud and very gallant military history.

In a time where the term “hero” is given to people like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, and Ben Johnson, we seem to have forgotten who, actual heroes are. While these names, may be called “role models” which is more appropriate, they, in my mind, are hardly worthy of the title of “Hero”.

Sadly, while we do still celebrate our veterans at Remembrance Day ceremonies, we still don’t do even close to enough for our true heroes, the names of our heroes are only known to people who want to preserve the history of our veterans. The names of men like Frederick George Topham, Ernest Alvia “Smokey” Smith, Robert Hampton Gray, Billy Bishop, Isaac Brock, Romeo Dallaire, John McCrae, and Georges Vanier along with so many countless others who, performed actions during wartime that displayed the fighting spirit and pride of the everyday Canadian that is all to common. Because of their heroic actions and fighting spirit, some of these brave men never made it home, but they were decorated with some of the highest decorations a soldier of the Commonwealth could be decorated with, and a very small few returned home with decorations displaying their courageous actions in the face of danger and putting the lives of their fellow brothers-in-arms before themselves.

In a time where we’re looking at people as heroes for how many home runs they’ve hit, how many strike outs they got, how fast they run, or even how many goals they got. What we need to focus on is giving credit to where credit is due and keeping the honour of these true heroes who died overseas during the First and Second World War, and to those who have served elsewhere in the various conflicts around the world, leaving their loved ones behind, to help fight against evil and safeguard the lives of people who do not have the ability to defend themselves.

The men and women of our military will always be some of the greatest heroes I can think of. I always remember why I am able to live the life I do, and am able to go where I wish, because people fought, and died for my ability to do so. 

Keep these men and women in your thoughts and prayers all the time, and remember why we have the freedoms and liberties that we have. Its because of these people that we don’t have to worry about being killed because of our eye colour, hair colour, skin colour, religious beliefs, or even our sexual preference. 

I always remember the veterans, and hope that you do too.

 

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My thoughts on Remembrance Day

Sadly, I was unable to partake in any Remembrance Day ceremonies today as I spent most of my day at work, but luckily I was able to catch a few moments of the Remembrance Day ceremony held in Ottawa on tv before I started my shift today.

I don’t know why, but one of my most favorite parts of any Remembrance Day ceremony is hearing The Last Post play and I was able to catch that part of the Ottawa ceremony as well as the national anthem and a very wonderful story from a woman WWII veteran who worked in one of the hospitals.

I always say that it seemed the younger generation, doesn’t quite appreciate what Remembrance Day is and means to us, but every year I’m always moved by the ceremony on tv and seeing the amount of young children taking part in the ceremony and seeing school children showing an appreciation for our veterans definitely shows me that while some kids don’t know who “Smokey” Smith was, there’s still a lot more that even if they don’t know who “Smokey” Smith was, they still leave a poopy at the memorial to honor our veterans.

I am very sad that both my grandfathers are no longer alive and I can’t tell them how proud I am for their service and that I’m always going to remember them.

I’d love to be able to sit down with and talk. My grandfather on my mother’s side was in the Royal Canadian Armored Corps, and I’d love to find out where he was, as he did make it to Europe and made it home after the war.

Seeing the amount of Remembrance Day related pictures on my Instagram feed was definitely moving and being able to see pictures from all over Canada and the US of ceremonies and vets definitely made my day.

I hope that our children continue to honor our veterans, as I will continue to honor those who served, everyday.
Not a day goes by that I think about why I’m able to live a free life and be the person I am, and not a day goes by that I think about my grandfathers.

R.I.P

Lest We Forget

Thank you to those who served in a time of need, and thank you to those currently serving to make a difference to those in Afghanistan who do not have a voice.

There are men and women, everyday fighting for freedom who deserve to be thanked for protecting us, and serving their country in the greatest way possible.

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Remembrance Day 2012

“Never in the field of human conflict, has so much, been owed by so many, to so few!”
Winston Churchill – September 1940

No truer words could be spoken about the veterans who served on the battlefields of Europe during World War I and World War II, for preservation of the Commonwealth and her allies.
During the 1st and 2nd World Wars, Canadians took part in some of the greatest military battles in wartime.

Canadians were involved in the taking of Vimy Ridge, they fought in Passchendale, they stormed the beaches of Juno during D-Day, and they endured some of the worst fighting and saw much loss of Canadian life during the Sicily and Italian campaigns.

All over Canada today, we are stopping to honor the veterans who left family, loved ones, friends, and children behind to fight in the war so that future generations would not have to fight.
We stop to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of Canadians who now rest alongside their brothers-in-arms in beautifully cared for cemeteries all over Europe.

At local Cenotaphs and memorials all over Halifax, thousands are going out to pay tribute to our veterans, and remember that it’s because of these men, “The Greatest Generation” that we are able to live a free life, do as we wish, go where we wish, be what we want to be, without having to live in fear, and to not be persecuted because of our religious beliefs, the color of our skin, our lifestyle, or our appearance.

Today, November 11th is a very special, and very emotional day for me.
As I stated in my very first post on here, I am the grandchild of 2 WWII veterans who have since passed away, and both my father and my brother are currently serving in the Royal Canadian Navy, I can not be any prouder of my family and my grandparents.

I hope today that you take a moment to stop and remember the veterans who served and who are currently serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.

LEST WE FORGET.

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Commemoration of the Battle of the Scheldt 2012

On the weekend of October 13-14th, 2012, The Atlantic Canadian WWII Living History Association went to the Halifax Citadel once again, to commemorate the anniversary of the Canadian lead battle for the Scheldt estuary.

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We had our members dressed up as soldiers of the various nations during WWII.
As well, we had various items, gear, and weapons the Allied and Axis forces employed during the war, that the public could look at.
The weather was quite chilly but I was thankful that I was wearing the Canadian wool battledress I always wear to events, which definitely helped fight the cold.

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Although it was a chilly weekend, we were visited by so many people and it was definitely easy to tell they thoroughly enjoyed the display.

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Further information on my Grandfather

As I have mentioned in my first post, both of my grandfathers were WWII veterans, but only my grandfather on my mother’s side saw time overseas in Europe.
Since joining the Atlantic Canadian World War II Living History Association, I’ve been trying to find out everything I can about him, where he’s been, what unit he belonged to, etc.
Very slowly, with the help of my grandmother, I’ve been learning more and more about my grandfather.
I’ve come into possession of a lot of his original WWII kit and I even have the beret he was issued, and just a few days ago, I was sent another picture of him in uniform.

So far, what I’ve learned about him is that he enlisted in 1943 and was in the armoured division. At the end of the war, my grandfather returned to civil life in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
His rank was Trooper, and service number was G51595.

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This is a picture of my grandfather, that my grandmother mailed me a few days ago.

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Anniversary of Bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima

Germany’s war had ended, but the Japanese were still fighting to the last man in the Pacific War and it seemed that the Japanese would not surrender to the Americans, but all that changed in a week in August.

August 6th, 1945, the Enola Gay releases one of the most devastating weapons on the city of Hiroshima, the atomic bomb. In a short few minutes, the city is in ruins and people are instantly killed from flash burns, falling debris and radiation exposure.

Then on the 9th of August, Bockscar releases a bomb on the city of Nagasaki, and once again, as in Hiroshima the damage is extensive and tens of thousands of people are instantly killed, others suffering from terrible wounds from the horrifically bright flash from the atomic bomb.

These two days mark the only time that the atom bomb has been used and hopefully it stays that way.

The damage was extensive and the first day the bombs were dropped, the number of casualties was severely high, and victims continued to die from their wounds days or months later.
But, ultimately in the end, Japan surrendered to the Americans and WWII came to an end.

We’ve seen pictures of the devastation that was left behind after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I hope that these are the only times they’ll be used. The sheer power and devastation and loss of life will be very high.

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Canadian WWII Dated Razor

As I have mentioned in my introduction post to WordPress, I am the grandchild of two WWII veterans, one saw combat in Europe, while my dad’s father did not see combat as he was in training to go over when the war ended.
Anyway, my grandmother has given me kit bags that belonged to my grandfather who went to Europe.
She told me that she didn’t know what was in the bags, just that since my grandfather returned home from the war, those kit bags had been stored in their attic since WWII ended.

I’ve gone through all the kitbags and while most of the items in the kitbags were webbing or uniform related, there were a few items which are….my prized possessions and I’ll be sharing them here for you all to see.

The very first item I want to share with my followers here…is a Canadian WWII dated Gilette razor and case.

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It seems to be in absolutely perfect condition and I doubt that it’s even been used.

This was one of the very last items of my grandfather’s that I received. It’s made me want to shave with it, but I’d definitely want to buy new blades for it but I don’t want to use the razor.

Hope you enjoyed this picture. There’s a lot more items to come.

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