Tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday.
You might wonder why it is so important to me to remember. I’ve always thought it was because my dad was a Canadian soldier in WWII and his uncle lost his life in WWI. Certainly, that’s why my interest was piqued. But living over here, where the reminders of both wars are everywhere … my Canuck eyes were opened to just how sheltered we were in North America from both wars. Our Armed Forces were here, the people back home dedicated themselves to the war effort in both wars, supporting Mother England, weeping for our lost loves and for those that came home … but for most of us in Canada today, 96 years after WWI ended and 69 years after WWII ended, the wars are abstract memories, photographs in articles and history books.
Here, you can walk through them, climb on them, touch them. There is nothing minimalist about it here where the wars were fought. And the memories of the people, even those who were born in the 1960s, like me, are strong. Their gratitude in France, expressed everywhere I went when they found out I am Canadian, is sincere, heart-felt and as strong as if I were visiting in 1946. They teach their children here, about the wars, about the family members who died, about why we must remember the horrors, the wrongness, of war.
The first of my photos is of the beach at Arromanche, where the remnants of the Mulberry Harbour scar the beauty of the place to this day. Now, they are just part of the landscape and have taken on their own beauty.
The second is a shot of the Vimy Ridge Memorial. She is Canada Bereft, also called Mother Canada, looking down on the Sarcophagus representing the Canadians who died there. Behind her Peace, flanked by Justice, Hope, Charity, Honour, Faith, Truth and Knowledge, reaches her Torch toward the heavens.
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