Diary of Remembrance
During Veteran's Week 2005, Memorial University offered its faculty, staff and students an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings on the role of veterans in Canada and their signifigance for the university.
This Diary of Remembrance is an online forum where people posted their comments during Veteran's Week. It is part of a series of special events planned for the university to commemorate The Year of the Veteran.
Entries in the Book of Remembrance
For as long as I can remember I have always watched the parade and service on Nov. 11 in my home community or the coverage of the national war memorial on CBC. Each year there are fewer of those veterans with us to share their memories and stories. Memorial University has a unique role and responsibility to teach our new students about our history of service in past wars, to honour their memory and to promote peace so that we may never again ask our sons and daughters to make that ultimate sacrifice.
I remember the words of “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” by Eric Bogle ..."and the young people ask what are they marching for…”
I don’t want the memory of those who gave their lives for our’s to become just words of a song of memory.My grandfather offered himself for me, and for all Newfoundlanders and Canadians and citizens of the world so that we could simply live the best lives we could while here on this Earth.I want my children to know that and I want all children to know that.I commend those who strive to keep the past from simply fading into memory for that is how mistakes are repeated.
Linda Holwell Tibbo
Too often it is easy to let the details and stresses of everyday life overwhelm us. It is important to take time to reflect on the good things in life and especially on the freedoms which we so often take for granted. We are privileged to practice the faith we choose, pursue the careers we choose, and live where we want without fear of reprisal for these decisions. This would not be the case were it not for the valient sacrifices of those who fought to enshrine these rights for us. We should always remember those who fought for us but especially during this special time.
I keep thinking of Mr. Duffy, my childhood neighbour. He was a war veteran and he was alot of fun. We would sit on his bridge on a hot summer day, drinking lemonade, telling stories and singing songs like "Sergeant Major". I was too young to understand war or the ultimate sacrifice made by so many for a better tomorrow, but I always knew Mr. Duffy was brave and strong and he always had my respect. I speak of him often to family and friends, my little way of honouring and remembering.
To all of the soldiers and fallen soldiers who fought for the peace and freedom of our world. You are the heroes of the world; you have given us what is most important in life, peace and freedom. We thank you for your bravery and courage. This year we have all had a time to reflect on what you have given us.
You shall always be remembered, the true heroes of the world.
As a child I grew up with a large portrait of my mom's uncle James
Morris hanging at the top of the stairs in our house. Like so many
other young Newfoundland men he died at the Battle of Beaumont Hamel.
He was 24 years old. We still have the memorial bronze plaque with
his name on it. It is kept polished and is on prominent display in
our family home.
My Aunt Mollie who lived next door was a widow. Her husband Allan McPherson was killed in the invasion of Sicily in WOrld War II. Our family grew up understanding the terrible sacrifices that so many of our soldiers made and we knew the burden that those who survived carried with them. In one sense these young men and women continued to suffer and pay for our freedom all of their lives.
The only way we can ever hope to repay their courage and sacrifice is by remembering them and honouring them always. We must never forget.
James C. Butler
My father was a veteran of WWII serving with the 166th Royal Artillery in North Africaand Italy. I remember asking my father on many occasions to describe what it was like to fight in a war. To the day he died he did not recount one specific memory of the war unless it was in the lighter vein such as having to eat dog food while fighting in Italy. He didn’t tell me of the young dead men or the destruction. I guess he simply could not. We will never know what our veterans have endured and out thanks will never be enough. Every November 11 I go to the service at the War Memorial and I applaud as the dwindling veterans march past those gathered. We owe them so much but will never be able to repay them for their sacrifices. I have a suggestion for Memorial. There are many children of veterans working at MUN. Why not choose one or two each November 11 to represent Memorial at the War Memorial along with the President? I think it would be most fitting considering the unique connection Memorial has.
I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of the veterans who so
selflessly fought for what they believed in. They offered their lives
without a second thought simply because they knew that it was the
right thing to do. As students of Memorial University it is important
that we all remember that we are here because of the sacrifice of
those who only dreamed of an institution such as this one. Our
University was built as a living memorial to the war dead that would
continuously return to the world a portion of what was given for us.
I hope that this Remembrance Day we all take the time to remember
those who died that we may have the life and freedoms that we enjoy
today. I hope as well that we also take the time to personally thank
a veteran who was prepared to give the ultimate sacrifice but for one
reason or another, did not have to.
A great day in our history. We have so much to be thankful for. Our veterans are why we are here today. It is important to keep Nov 11th alive and in the minds of the young.
Thank you veterans.
Sacrifice. It's never about soldiers helping themselves. It's about soldiers risking everything to help people they may never meet.
Sacrifice. It's young men and women engaged in combat (or keeping the peace) in foreign lands and remaining unshaken in their resolve.
Sacrifice. It's constant vigilance in times of peace and steadfast action in times of war.
Sacrifice. Canadian Veterans have forgotten more about the true meaning of Sacrifice then most of us, fortunately, will ever have to know.
There is no way to adequately say "Thank-you" to our Veterans.
Maybe, in a small way, this photo of a young member of the Newfoundland Regiment can express something where the words fail me?
His statue is frozen in time. Snow billowing around his uniform, hands ready at the weapon, almost a century later he still scans the horizon with unblinking eyes. Ever the Sentinel of Liberty this Newfoundlander remains a soldier for all seasons and reasons.
For me he embodies the Spirit of Sacrifice. I'm eternally appreciative Veterans like him were protecting us then. I'm equally grateful they continue to do so today.
May God, however your personal creed conceives him, bless all Veterans for the Sacrifices they made.
From the time I was small my grandfather told me of the war years. He talked about the toll it took on families, he talked about the affect it had on the economy, he talked about how it affected the city, and mostly he talked about how it affected him,my grandmother and their children. As I grew older I would ask 'Grampa' more about the war. What did he do? Did he shoot people? How did he affect change?
Why did he do it? It took many years for me to hear these stories, and I know that I never got to hear them all. He told me all he could, in the time that we were allowed. Now my grandfather is gone but the memories of what he told me are still there, and they will live on. I give thanks to the veterans for what they have done for us. Although eventually we may lose some of these brave people their stories will continue to be told, by us, by myself, and by our children. Remember always what has been done for you, and be thankful that they have done this for us, without hesitation, with self-sacrifice and with love.
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
2nd year student (Political Science)
I remember as a child watching my grandfather speak with his fellow veterans at our school in Grand Falls. I was so proud of him and still am…he's 85. He never talked much about the war. In later years I found out that he still had nightmares. Even my great-grandfather was one of the few lucky men who survived the slaughter at Beaumont Hamel in 1916 where many Newfoundlanders lost their lives. I was born on this day and feel so grateful for the efforts of all men and women who played a role in making our lives better.
Phil A. Murphy
I have attended this university's Remembrance Day ceremony for 20 years. Every year during the two minutes of silence, I remember my uncle. I remember Uncle Willie because he was lucky - he came home.
But during that silence, I also remember the families who weren't
so lucky. We must remember so that we do not lose any more of our
young people to wars.
I was almost twenty one before I knew that not all men joined the Armed Forces. I thought that if you didn't join the service meant that had something wrong with you. This was probably because almost all of the men in my family were in Canadian Armed Forces of Canada. Serving their country. The Backman Boys of Halifax, NS represented all branches of the service. Carl, Bill, Douglas (Banks) Alan and Parker, Basil (Uncle Hump) was married to a WREN Aunt Edith. Their dad, my grandfather was too old for the Armed Forces during the Second World War so he served in the Merchant Navy. My sister Grace married Russell Hendsbee a soldier and my sister Shirley married Richard Braithwaite a sailor. both with overseas service.
Not to be outdone by their uncles, my brothers Jim and Tony both joined the army.
Jim saw action during the Korean War.
I am very proud of all the Veterans who served their country Especially My Veterans.
I would like to see a website created that is dedicated to the
first 500. It would take a fair bit of research but it could take
each member and give a little mini biography, where they were from,
if the were killed or wounded, medals, age when they signed up, what
they did after the war. Decendants, families, and friends could post
messages and information about the person. It could be a project for
a university or high school group or class. There is a very nice
website called www.thewall-usa.com
dedicated to the people who died in the Vietnam War. It would be
nice to have something similiar for our veterans.
"Lest we forget..." It is only right for us who avail of these
fine people's efforts to now stand on guard for their memory. I am so
saddened that these sacrifices are steadily passing out of living
memory. I have spoken with many veterans both in and outside my
family and the one recurrent theme is that such sacrifice should
never again be repeated. Whilst I acknowledge that sometimes conflict
can come to unbidden, every effort must be made to avoid it. These
people experienced such horrors that many of them choose not to
remember it. How can I blame them? A great-uncle was so marked by
post-traumatic stress disorder that he was deeply scarred 'till the
end of his days. I
struggle to balance my desire to learn with their need to forget. They need to cope daily with the trauma that they endured and they will have my undying respect and admiration for that - there is much pain with their pride. Times may change but veterans inform that war is /*always*/ hell. Their legacy is our freedom and or duty is their remembrance... "We shall remember them."
I will always remember the veterans who fought and died for us so long ago.
I would especially thank my father, Clement Grant who served in the forestry unit in World War II. Also my great uncle James Youden who served in the two World Wars.