“A Great Day for Canada”

Posted 2009.11.11 0.01 in Spiritual by Stephanie

I am very fortunate. Neither myself, my parents, or any of my grandparents, have served in combat. Both my grandfathers were involved in World War 2, but one took ill and was sent home before shipping overseas, and the other was in the Signals Corps but never shipped out either.

A great-grandfather did serve in the Great War, he was wounded at least twice, and we still have some relics from that time. Letters he wrote, one written from inside a ‘Hun Pillbox’ he had helped capture, another written from hospital as he recovered from injuries.

There is a bracelet that is inscribed “Vimy” and is alledgedly made from the metal of a shell that was fired during that great battle, along with some of his badges and other parephenalia. I never knew my great-grandfather though – any of them in fact. I have no direct connection to anyone who has served in the armed forces, seen combat.

So, what does Rememberance Day mean to me, then? There is one phrase, which symbolises it all to me. “Today, will be a great day for Canada!” This simple sentence brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat.

There was a TV series, For King and Country, by Norm Christie. The series covers WWI, WWII, and Korea. In the series, Norm Christie visits war memorials, discusses various battles, reads from soldiers’ diaries and letters home, and they show still images and motion pictures.

In one episode about the Great War, a soldier’s diary told how every time his platoon’s Sgt. announced that “Today, will be a great day for Canada!” the soldier knew that at least half his friends were about to die.

Let that sink in. Think about it.

The soldier had heard this phrase often enough, seen the results often enough, to know that it meant that by the end of the day, half his mates would be dead. And yet they carried on. They did their duty. For King and Country.

Nowadays – we’re wimps. People whine and cry and threaten lawsuits if they don’t get their way on the simplest of things. A hundred years ago, young men went off to war and did their duty, faced death, killed and died, and carried on.

As I type this, I have tears in my eyes. I don’t remember the name of the soldier who’s diary this came from, nor the name of his Sgt. or even which battle this was about – only that whenever it was, it was a Great Day for Canada. And half of those brave young men died.

So that we could live free.

I remember. And I won’t forget.

The Maple Leaf Forever. The Maple Leaf forever, indeed. Gods bless the brave men who fought and died, that we may live free.

6 Comments

  1. In no way do I wish to minimize your feeling for Canada and the sacrifices made.. I was getting teary myself until I clicked on the audio link and got sent straight into the synthesized South Park music.

    OH. MY. GOD.

    That’s SO horrible… and not at all moving. It even reverbed and echoed when I hit pause, so I could play with the humour of it…

    NOT serious.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Oh yuck! when I click it, I get Maple Leaf Forever.

    Interwebs Suxors!

    I just checked again and it plays maple leaf forever for me…

    /me shakes the internet “Work Damn You!”

  3. Stephanie says:

    Just occured to me – the music is synthesized. I couldn’t find a better copy of it anywhere so all I could find was the synthesized one. But it is definately Maple Leaf Forever. What does south park music sound like?

  4. Oh, no no – it’s totally Maple Leaf Forever.. but such a crappy synthesized South Park parody version that I lost all my nostalgia and Remembrance day feeling and instead giggled like a school girl and envisioned the episode that would go along with this HORRIBLE music.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I posted a better version of it in a new post.

    Hopefully that will bring back the rememberance spirit.

  6. […] “a soldier’s diary told how every time his platoon’s Sgt. announced that ‘Today, will be a great day for Canada!’ the soldier knew that at least half his friends were about to die.”  The work of the First […]

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