I was visiting the museum on Remembrance Day in this painting.
I am thankful for my freedom. When I think about Remembrance Day it makes me feel sad. I’m sure that most of the people sent away from their homes did not want to go.
They were probably very afraid and didn’t know if they would ever see their family and friends again. They must have known that if they didn’t go and the war was lost that their family and friends would not have the freedom and security that we enjoy today.
They made a great sacrifice and bravely went. Hopefully some day all wars will stop and all people will live in peace.
The Importance of Remembrance
In Canada, Remembrance Day is held every November 11th in honour of Armistice Day 1918 when the Great War was declared over. On the 11th hour of the 11th month each year Canadians remember the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women who have served Canada in times of war and during peace support missions — especially those who have not returned.
Influenced by politics, fanaticism and intolerance the human race continues to wage war. Continuing conflict around the globe reveals that the capacity for horror and destruction still exists.
Canadians share the experience of remembrance in many different ways, through music, poetry, ceremonies, private reflection, discussion and art - and most importantly, through recorded memories from those who were there.
Blessed with Freedom
I wished there was never war
Why can't the world get along?
Young men and women died for us
They were valiant, brave and strong.
They lived in such terrible danger
when fighting day and night
It must have been horrible to live in fear
Seeing friends die, a terrifying sight.
It's bad to hear the noise of bombs and guns
And having bullets fly beside you
Seeing planes crashing and soldiers falling
It was painful what they had to live through.
When I see old pictures in books
Of fine men that died in the war
I slowly bow my head
Because their sacrifice is too big to ignore.
If we do not remember
The soldiers and pilots that died
Their sacrifice would seem pointless
And their honour would be denied.
What if war never existed?
And people lived in peace
There would be no need for conflict
And all fighting would cease.
When people wear the bright red poppy
Above their heart and on their chest
We must remember as Canadians
Why we are truly blessed.
On each and every Remembrance Day
I will remember those who died for me
They gave up their lives for Canada's peace
So please remember why we are free.
Stefan Daniel, Age 10, 2008
A True Remembrance Day
Long ago before we were all born
Lives were taken and families torn
The world was changed, as so they say
And I didn’t believe it until today
I found out so many things
About the soldiers who fought only to win
Men of all ages’ shapes and size
Gathered here to shoot bombs out of the skies
The worst thing was to hear the cries
Of their best friend as he slowly dies
He lost his life even though the other soldiers still need him
To fight the cruel battles for all of our freedom
His body would be buried in Flanders fields
Where all of the crosses can work as shields
To cover his body as he rests in peace
As the crosses sadly increase
The fields were full of poppies they say
And we still wear them on Remembrance Day
To honor those who fought for
Our freedom and much, much more
They fought through rain
They fought through shine
They fought through day
They fought through night
They fought through every season
Sadly we were the reason
And so we honor them today
At 11 o`clock for that is when
We sing we dance we even pray
All of this on Remembrance Day
Natasha Harmer, Age 12, 2008
Journey of Remembrance
A Hockey Teams Tour of Europe - April 2009
In April 2009, minor league hockey coach and former Calgary Flame player, Brad Werenka, organized a tour of Europe for his Bantam and Midget level team to play hockey in tournaments overseas with various other minor league teams.
Brad approached The Military Museums before the trip to ask about battlefields the team could visit while they were there. The area around Bagnacavallo, Italy was chosen, where Canadians fought through the fall and winter of 1944-1945 at the end of the Italian Campaign.
The hockey players were also each paired up with a fallen Canadian soldier buried at the Villanova Canadian Cemetery, whose life they researched, and to whom they wrote personal letters of gratitude.
Reflections from the Hockey players
Bagnacavallo, Italy... Open fields, poppies, warm faces, laughing school children... who would have ever imagined these welcoming fields once darkened with the sights and sounds of battle.
We were honoured with a small glimpse into the lives of a handful of men who marched, fought and died in these same pristine fields. They are forever remembered by the Italians and family and friends who are fortunate enough to venture here.
Through all the speeches, tears and periods of respectful reflections, our Italian hosts, in all their warmth and hospitality, were constant reminders of battles long ago worth fighting.
Letters to the Fallen
To: Lance Corporal Alvin Lloyd Lehman
Villanova War Cemetary
Plot 2, Row A, Grave 1
The reason Canada is what it is today is accredited to you and the men that fought alongside you. Joining the war, in full acknowledgement of the danger and risks, was something I believe no ordinary man could do. This took a lot of courage, determination and of course, bravery.
It would have been hard for your parents, Wesley and Arvilla, to watch you leave and every day be at the risk of dying and not coming home. Your parents must have been worried but I know they were proud to have a son that was willing to fight to make others lives better.
I can’t imagine the feelings and thoughts you would be going through while on your way to join the army. I believe that most men would have turned back if they knew the conditions and dangers they would be in while in the army.
Because of your decision I now have many things I take for granted. What you did for the people of Canada was extremely honorable and I know the people that knew you will remember you as more than just a soldier. As a man who risked everything to make other lives better. I thank you for making Canada a better place.Sincerely,
To: David Devor
Villanova War Cemetary
Plot 3, Row A, Grave 4
Dear David Devor,
I must thank you for all that you sacrificed in order to serve and die for Canada, so that we may have freedom in this country. You were forced to die at such a young age and not be able to fully experience life, making the ultimate sacrifice, mostly for people you didn’t know.
You defended our country, fighting with pride and courage in your heart, knowing that even a stray bullet or a tiny piece of shrapnel could mean that it was all over. You died, along with thousands of other soldiers, so that I may be here today to write this thank you letter to a true Canadian hero.
For it is the ones like you, not Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe, that are the true idols in this country for something you did, and without you, we would have lost the war, along with our freedom and everything else we hold dear to our heart.
In writing this letter, as with every other Canadian, I regret not knowing more about you, and not just paying a tribute once a year but every morning we wake up in this beautiful country. For this, I thank you, David Devor. You are a true Canadian hero.
To: Private Gordon Perkins
Villanova War Cemetary
Plot 6, Row C, Grave 2
First of I would like to say thank you. Your efforts in the war were astonishing. Personally, for me to go to war in a strange country at such a young age would be unthinkable. I would not have the strength to leave my family and friends behind.
The fear of going and possibly dying would impact me so much that it probably would prevent me from going. I would like to compliment you on your achievements, your incredible courage and how you served for so long and helped out the Gothic Line in every way possible.
I believe that you were a kind and fast learning person who enjoyed everyone’s company and was never put to shame. I can tell you were very experienced judging by the time you spent with the war efforts.
You sacrificed your life for our freedom and for that we can never repay you. Once again I thank you for risking your life so that we could have our freedom.
To: Sergeant Harold Eady
Villanova War Cemetary
Plot 7, Row A, Grave 9
I write you this letter in attempt to assist people in realizing the significance of the sacrifice you and your fellow soldiers gave for the freedom of Canada and all of today’s nations. I hold you soldiers in the highest regard.
What you did for this country can never be comprehended by us, because I believe this would be a tremendously different world if this ultimate sacrifice was not made by you brave people. The freedom we live in today can be directly thanked to the men who actually fought for it.
From what I have learned about you, you have five brothers and three sisters and are married. Those facts lead me to believe how strong and brave you must have been; such a noble cause to put all this at risk. I read that you were first wounded by friendly fire to the leg.
I can’t even imagine how the friendly who shot you must have felt. I am very curious to know also, how you felt during this. I also wonder how it affected you personally to witness the mass tragedy and death that I imagine you did. I have learned that your hobbies were motorcycling, hunting, fishing, hockey and baseball. I think me and you have that in common, although I would love to own a motorcycle I don’t think my mom would approve.
I like to play hockey as well; in fact, I leave you this letter standing by my hockey team as they do the same for other brave soldiers. I wish I could have the opportunity to learn more about you. One thing I know for sure without even meeting you is that you were a brave man. For your sacrifice, you have my utmost respect.