Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Heritage: Each One Remembered

Linda Granfield spoke to the Swansea Historical Society in Toronto, Ontario on 7-April-2010

TORONTO, ONTARIO - The announced topic of this month's meeting of the Swansea Historical Society this evening was war brides. Linda Granfield indeed provided a substantial amount of information on how young British women married, left for Canada in secret, entered through Pier 21 in Halifax, and became community leaders across the nation. It truly was another time--a guide book was provided with things that would be overwhelmingly offensive now, such as the statement "Canadian men love pie" followed by three pie recipes--apple, pumpkin, and lemon meringue. It's hard to imagine in modern times how after war rationing that seeing white bread and milk on a trans-Atlantic voyage would be overwhelming. Yet, Granfield has written extensively for school children, and thus history is very much living to her.

Friday is Vimy Ridge Day, the day when Canada celebrates its emergence as a military force on the world stage. Ninety-three years ago, Canadian forces led the capturing of a high ground in France, losing nearly 3600 men in the process. The day has been celebrated as a military coming of age in Canada ever since. This year, after the death in February of John Babcock, the last living of 640,000 Canadian (and Newfoundlander) veterans from World War I, the Government of Canada decided to hold special ceremonies on Vimy Ridge Day in Ottawa.

Yet, outside of the nation's capitol, it would be all too easy to ignore the event, and Linda Granfield felt that should not happen. She started the Each One Remembered campaign in an attempt to get poppies made in honor of each of the 640,000 soldiers. Linked off the web page is a PDF file of a poppy that could be coloured in with a simple crayon. She started to spread the word--in part through her network of war brides.

At last check, the count was only above 12,000, but it included the full geographic range of Canada from coast to coast to coast, and there's still time before Friday. All one has to do is download a poppy and print it out (or draw one!), then follow the link to report the effort. Then, watch the special ceremonies for this Vimy Ridge Day that will air on all broadcasting networks at mid-day on Friday. It's the least we can do to recognize the sacrifice that has led to the country we know today.

1 comment:

Linda Granfield said...

Thank you for encouraging people to take part in Each One Remembered--I'm still receiving poppy counts and participants in the program had more than 16,000 poppies in windows across Canada, and in the UK, Luxembourg, Singapore, and Germany.
See the Facebook page for Each One Remembered later this week for photos sent in.
It was a pleasure to visit with the Swansea Historical Society!