Saturday, November 06, 2004

EIGHT OF OUR GREATEST

There are eight known surviving Canadian veterans of the First World War. In the National Report section of today's Saturday Star there are interviews with all of them. Their names are:

Clare Laking
Lazarre Gionet
Alice Strike
John Babcock
William Proctor
Paul Metiveir
Dwight Wilson
Lloyd Clement

Many of them never made it to combat in Europe. Upon arriving in England, most were discovered to have enlisted under the legal age and were assigned to non-combat units. Nevertheless, these men, and one woman, volunteered to serve their country when they were still children, and they did it in 1916 and 1917 when there could be no mistaking that Europe was a massive killing field. At the ages of 15, 16 and 17 these Canadians chose to fight a war.

I can not think of any significant decision I had to make at the age of 15, yet alone one of that magnitude. The reason for that, of course, is because the Canadians who have come before me did have to make that decision. Throughout the 20th century, when war came, Canadians responded. They chose personal sacrifice and often death to defend a cause greater than any one individual.

This is why we remember.

There are only eight left from the Great War. Pick up a copy of The Star, or read their stories here.

Posted by Matthew @ 10:01 PM