||May 13, 2005
Remembering Canada’s Veterans
This week Canada is remembering Canada’s sons and daughters who were involved in
WWII 60 years ago and in previous encounters. The newspaper, radio and
television are full of memories of the pride, anger and hope of those years.
Vic Fideli, the Mayor of North Bay where 3,000
citizens enlisted and 150 did not return read a proclamation naming May 8th
2005 “A Day For Our Veterans” and recognized the Canadian government’s “Year of
the Veteran” 2005. There was a Rememberance
Ceremony at Memorial Park on Sunday, May 8 held by the Royal Canadian Legion
Branch 23. A weeks ceremony in the Netherlands
celebrated Canada’ contribution in the liberation there. Many veterans, their
families, party leaders etc. attended. The North Bay Algonquin Regiment sent a
plaque with the regiments badge and motto to Welbers
when our soldiers made a special contribution over 2 brutal days in the fall of
||North Bay Nugget headlines
Some of the Nugget’s coverage from 60 years ago when 1 million German soldiers
laid down their arms helps tell the story of the wars end and the past in North
North Bay Nugget:
“It’s all over! It’s all over;
It’s all over!”
So the shouts went from one pedestrian to another
on Main street this morning when word was received of
the unconditional surrender of Germany to the United Nations.
“It’s all over now! It’s all over! It’s all over!”
Joyous, happy shouting intermingled with occasional
cheers and gladsome laughter that in many instances bordered ‘on the hysterical’
as the news awaited so long became a reality.
And all of it voiced during a gradually rising of
crescendo of bells, sirens and whistles.
Sirens at the city fire hall were brought into play
at the same time that the bell on the city hall was rung to announce to those
who might not have known previously that Germany had accepted unconditional
surrender. Other bells added to the clamor.
The horns on cars and trucks added their share to
the general hub-bub and almost at the same time
whistles on engines on the railroads broke into noise-making.
Within a matter of minutes stores and offices were
being closed for a two-day period and the whole business section of Main
street and adjoining blocks assumed a holiday air and
“Closed” signs appeared on some doors. Flags and
bunting were attached to appropriate pieces at the front of business places.
More and more people, unable to remain indoors at
such a time, thronged to Main street and presented a happy milling effect
although the number was not at first sufficiently large to impede either
sidewalk or highway traffic.
And then the closing of the schools, releasing
hundreds of youngsters, added to the gradually growing congestion on many
streets as they scurried from block to block to see all that was to be seen at
that time in anticipation of having things to report when they reached their
The New Canadian
War Museum Opens on V.E. Day
Canada’s new 136 million dollar War Museum opened on the V.E. Day weekend on the
Lebreton Flats in Ottawa. The stunning new museum
is not just a new modern building that act as a memorial but is a whole new look
at the history of Canadian involvement in war. In the museum the sanitized
version of the past where glory and courage were emphasized has a large added
focus on the hell of war, the brutal and devastating pain and reality of war.
Hopefully it will serve as a reminder of the stupidity of war and perhaps help
Another look at
A Nugget list of War dead 60 years ago with familiar local names bring s back
the human element of war touching on every nationality in North Bay. One
casualty for example was Gunner Lawrence Whiteduck
which reminded me of powerful new novel Three Day road by Joseph
Boylen about WWI. I attended
Gullivers’ Books celebration of independent bookstore day recently and
saw a large pile of the book and bought one. M.P. Anthony Rota was present at
the event as was Vic Fideli to cut the cake and read
a proclamation. Research indicates that good bookstores play a key role in the
health of a community and are the main source of income for local authors.
I couldn’t put Three Day road down. It is a brilliantly written interwoven
story of the life of two Cree young men growing up, going to war, and the
effects of the war o them. The book is inspired by the life of Francis
Pegahmagabow from the parry Sound band who killed
over 300 Germans and saved hundreds of Canadian and other lives. He was the
most devoted native soldier in WWII. He went on to be a great leader in the
rise of native rights in Ontario and Canada. I reviewed Adrian Hayes’ book
Pegahmagabow Legendary Warrior – Forgotten Hero
(2003) here in December 2003
Three Day Road is a mesmerizing story told by a Cree woman from James Bay who
lives off the land and her nephew Xavier. The dramatic, unblinking, shocking,
beautifully researched book provides insight into the native way of life and
life I the trenches in WWI. Even though none of those veterans survive their
story ????? in this moving book. Check the Internet for more about the book.
Whether by discussion at home or with a veteran or by reading or visiting a
museum this is a time to remember the wars of the past, our contributions and
how to prevent war in the future.
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