Veteran’s Day November 11th (known as Remembrance Day in Canada), marked the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War l.
For many it was a joyous day because they knew for sure for the first time that their loved ones would be coming home alive.
The Roberts Family in Brantford, Canada was celebrating because my grandfather (Arthur Roberts) was coming home with what remained of the 25th Regiment of the Brantford Dragoons of the Royal Canadian Army, after spending a year and a half in the trenches on the Western Front. His regiment had been subjected to numerous mustard gas attacks, steady machine gun fire, and artillery shelling that repeatedly collapsed their underground bunker that provided their only shelter from the cold. (He was a career reservist who also fought in the Boer War as part of the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles.) When they and their horses got to France, the French “borrowed” their horses and sent them directly into the trenches.
In World War 1, over 40 million people died, including over 30 million killed or wounded in direct combat and 10 million civilian casualties.
Canada, as part of the British Commonwealth, was, as all of the Commonwealth nations, not required to send troops: everyone who went did so as volunteers. Canada lost 60,000 men, and another 150,000 were combat wounded out of a population of only 8 million. Remembrance Day is still taken very seriously in Canada, perhaps even more so than Veteran’s Day here. (US casualties in World War l were 53,000 killed and 116,000 wounded out of a population of 103 million.)
Until 1954, in the US, November 11th was known as Armistice Day because it was on November 11th at 11 am (the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month) that the war was officially ended.
This year on Veteran’s Day, I received a video (see below) that was made by J.P. Cormier of Nova Scotia,, honoring all Canadian soldiers from all wars who died from PTSD. Leave it to our wonderful neighbors to truly do justice to those who have served and their families, who have also paid the ultimate sacrifice. Over 1 million people have seen the video. JP exemplifies what one person with a big heart and real talent can do using the amazing internet we now take for granted.
I hope it resonates with you, also. – -Jim