summer 2016

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Remembrance Day thoughts

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918, signaled the end of the First World War, the war to end all wars.  My father, John (Jack) Harris was there.  He was in Mons, Belgium when the fighting ended for Canadians.  He was with the Canadian division that liberated the town that day. 

My father was 16 when he left Moncton, New Brunswick to join the war effort in 1914. He was just a teenager, the oldest of four children, 3 brothers and 1 sister.  He served first with the Royal Canadian Artillery Fredericton 36 Battery, then he was transferred to the 9th Brigade CFA from 1915 to 1918.


The inscription reads: Inspection of the Canadian Field Artillery
by His Majesty the King
Dominion Day 1916
My father is somewhere in this picture.  I remember it hanging in
the stairwell at my Grandmother's house and as kids we'd always try to find Dad.


This is my dad in his World War I uniform.

While overseas my father wrote to his parents back home.  My sister has all of his letters and one of them was published in a book The Book of Letters  150 years of Private Canadian Correspondence by Paul and Audrey Grescoe.

The following is a quote from one letter dated Mons, Belgium, Nov. 14, 1918

" Now that it has appeared in the papers there is no harm in telling you that is was our division that took Mons.   And the welcome we received was a thing we shall always remember.  The whole population turned out to greet us with flags and banners.  It was truly a wonderful sight.... Then we had a triumphal procession.  Infantry, artillery, some cavalry, motor ambulances, machine gunners etc. all literally groaning under the flowers and flags heaped on them.  Of course this was not till 11 o'clock, the hour at which the armistace began."

My father returned home and graduated from university before serving again in World War II.

When we were growing up we hardly missed a Remembrance Day service at the cenotaph in Victoria Park and my father was in the parade of veterans until he could no longer attend.

My husband and I always attend the service at our local cenotaph and took our children with us each year while they were growing up.  Remembrance Day is usually a very chilly and sometime freezing day.  I've attended the services in all kinds of weather - wind, rain, snow, sunshine and cloud.  And, I try not to complain because those we are honouring suffered so much more in the fields, trenches,jungles, desert, air and on the sea than we would in an hour long ceremony during inclement weather.


This is the cenotaph in Fredericton.

I hope that you  will be attending a Remembrance Day or Veterans Day (U.S.) ceremony
near you on Thursday, November 11.  If you can't, please take time at 11:00 to
stop what you are doing and take 2 minutes to remember, in your own way,
those brave soldiers of the past who paid the supreme sacrifice for the freedom
we enjoy in our country today.  Also, I ask you to remember our soldiers currently
serving in parts of the world and pray for God's protection over them and for
peace in the war torn countries in which they are serving.

Blessings to you,

Pamela


We will remember !

5 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post...written so very well! We have so much to be thankful for, may we never forget.
    Blessings!

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  2. What a lovely tribute to your dad. My father also served - he was a flight lieutenant in the RCAF, WW2. We always marched in the Remembrance Day parade in our little town in PEI. I would be in my Brownie or Girl Guide uniform and usually freezing! Our church always has a service for Remembrance Day - the cenotaph is in the church yard. A big crowd still comes out although our veterans are fewer each year.

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  3. Hi Pamela,
    This is such a great post. My Dad was in the Second World War and I have often heard of the Dutch people pouring out of there homes to thank the Canadian soldiers(my Dad among them) for liberating them.My Mom(a war bride) tells us of the cemeteries in Holland where there are rows and rows of white crosses marking the graves of the soldiers who lost their lives and are looked after by Dutch school children so they will remember.
    I can't imagine what it must have been like to fight in two world wars.
    Take care,
    Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your comments. Kathie and Carolyn - it's great that your fathers served too. I didn't know many kids whose fathers had served in the war, let alone the first one, when I was growing up. Dad was 19 years older than my mum so my friends dad's were younger too.
    Pamela

    ReplyDelete
  5. hi--very well done story pam.
    we attended the service at the coliseum. a huge turnout of people but did not seem as many vets.

    bye carol

    ReplyDelete

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