11 November 2010

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,  
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

10 November 2010

"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them."

November 11th is Remembrance Day.  The day we, as Canadians, pause to remember and commemorate the deaths of hundreds of Canadians who fought and died for our freedom.  Young men and women, both in service of the military and civilian, who sacrificed their lives to ensure that we live better ones. 
As both proud young Canadians and Cadets, it is our duty to participate in the Remembrance Day parade every year.  November 11th is one of the most important days of the year for Cadets across Canada to show their pride in their Corps and Country, and to show they remember, they will always remember. 
As we do each year, Fraser will participate in the Remembrance Day ceremony in New Westminster, at the Armories and City Hall.  Lest we forget.

This photo from the Veterans Affairs archive was taken on Columbia Street in New Westminster.  It shows the British Columbia Rifle's Regiment embarking for Europe in 1940.  Private Jack Bernard is seen saying goodbye to his five-year-old son, Warren. 
It serves as a great reminder to me each year as FRASER parades at City Hall.  So many fresh young faces, not in some unknown battleground or foreign city, but walking down a street where I myself have walked many times. 
I find myself wondering if Jack made it home to see his son, or how many of the long line of men behind him are names on War Memorials or in Canadian War Cemeteries across Europe
I urge everyone to take the time to wear a poppy, to attend one of the many local ceremonies or just stop for a few minutes of silence on November 11th and remember.  They gave their lives for you, and for that we will be ever thankful and never forget.
~ Lt(N) M. St. Hilaire, RCSCC FRASER

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. Will you Remember?

The following is from the Veterans Affairs Canada Website 

On this one day every year, we pay special homage to those who died in service to their country. We remember these brave men and women for their courage and their devotion to ideals. We wear poppies, attend ceremonies, and visit memorials. For one brief moment of our life, we remember why we must work for peace every day of the year.

On November 11, especially, but also throughout the year, we have the opportunity to remember the efforts of these special Canadians.  In remembering, we pay homage to those who respond to their country's needs.  On November 11, we pause for two minutes of silent tribute, and we attend commemorative ceremonies in memory of our war dead.
We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument.
~ Heather Robertson, A Terrible Beauty, The Art of Canada at War.

Yet for many of us, war is a phenomenon seen through the lens of a television camera or a journalist's account of fighting in distant parts of the world.  Our closest physical and emotional experience may be the discovery of wartime memorabilia in a family attic.  But even items such as photographs, uniform badges, medals, and diaries can seem vague and unconnected to the life of their owner.  For those of us born during peacetime, all wars seem far removed from our daily lives.

We often take for granted our Canadian values and institutions, our freedom to participate in cultural and political events, and our right to live under a government of our choice. The Canadians who went off to war in distant lands went in the belief that the values and beliefs enjoyed by Canadians were being threatened. They truly believed that "Without freedom there can be no ensuring peace and without peace no enduring freedom."

 By remembering their service and their sacrifice, we recognize the tradition of freedom these men and women fought to preserve. They believed that their actions in the present would make a significant difference for the future, but it is up to us to ensure that their dream of peace is realized. On Remembrance Day, we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country and acknowledge our responsibility to work for the peace they fought so hard to achieve.

08 November 2010

RCSCC FRASER Participates in Poppy Tagging

Every November, Fraser sets out with poppies in one hand and a donation can in the other.  Stationed around New Westminster and Queensborough to support the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #2 with freshly ironed pants and polished boots, the Cadets of FRASER stand out and politely ask if anyone would like a poppy. 

Tagging is an opportunity for the public to see FRASER cadets in their community and is a part of their citizenship training. 
This is an annual tradition among all Cadets who try diligently to assist in the spread of the poppies far and wide.  Since 1921, the Poppy has stood as a symbol of Remembrance, our visual pledge to never forget all those Canadians who have fallen in war and military operations.  The roughly $16.5 million raised annually by the poppy campaign is a testament to the generosity of Canadians and a widespread respect for our troops.  "We are particularly proud the poppies are made here in Canada." said administrative officer and Remembrance coordinator for the Legion, Steven Clark.  All poppy money collected by a Legion branch stays within that local community and pays for medical equipment, home services, and long-term care facilities for ex-service people in need of financial assistance.

The association of the Poppy to those who had been killed in war has existed since the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, over 110 years before being adopted in Canada.  There exists a record from that time of how thickly Poppies grew over the graves of soldiers in the area of Flanders, France.  Just prior to the First World War, few Poppies grew in Flanders. During the tremendous bombardments of that war, the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing the red poppy (papaver rhoeas) to thrive.  When the war ended, the lime was quickly absorbed and the Poppy began to disappear again.

Poppy protocol
-The poppy should be worn as close to the heart as possible or on the left lapel of the outermost garment.

-The poppy should only be worn during the Remembrance period, from the last Friday of October, ending at midnight on November 11.

Little known fact
-Until 1996, poppies were handmade by veterans in Toronto and Montreal.

Written (in part) by PO1 A. Gagnon

Operation Sea Ray

Operation Sea Ray, also known as the seamanship and range training weekend, occurred at the Annacis Island Training Quarters on October 15-17.
This weekend was fun, interesting and action packed.  Some of the courses FRASER cadets participated in were how to tie basic knots and their uses, using a boatswain’s call, range safety and marksmanship technique using the Daisy 853c air rifle.

The weekend wasn’t just about training.  The cadets also participated in a heated Pumpkin carving competition!  Each team produced an excellent jack o’ lantern, and after much laughter the judges declared the senior cadets victorious.

The cadets also participated in a fierce battle to show they truly know their stuff.  SLt Lyford arranged a round robin of seamanship challenges for the cadet teams including an interesting knot tying challenge, seamanship jeopardy, PNE themed marksmanship challenge, phonetic alphabet adventure, and piping challenge.  One team (Charlie) reigned supreme, having had top marks in all of the events.

The weekend was a great success and FRASER went home Sunday, exhausted but happy to have spent a busy, fun filled weekend at their Annacis Island home instead of home sipping root beer, watching cartoons or playing on facebook.

Written by PO1 A. Gagnon

01 November 2010

HMCS DISCOVERY receives Freedom of the City from New Westminster

On October 3, 2010 a rarely held Freedom of the City celebration took place at the New Westminster city hall. 

HMCS Discovery became just the sixth recipient of the Freedom of the City in New Westminster. This honour is rarely given and since the city’s inception in 1859, the City has granted this privilege to four persons and one group, the last one having been granted in 1963.  Such an honour indicates the trust and respect that the City has for the HMCS Discovery and the Canadian Navy.

"Excellent turnout from the Navy, cadets and veterans," said Colin Stevens, the city's manager of museum and archives. "The naval veterans got an excellent round of applause."

It is a very big honour for any military naval unit, and it was a privilege for the Sea Cadets of FRASER, whom were invited to parade alongside the crew of HMCS DISCOVERY and be inspected by the New Westminster Mayor, Wayne Wright.

“Watching the cadets of RCSCC FRASER in this parade behind the immense ranks of HMCS DISCOVERY was so inspiring, and a great showcase for the public.  They can be proud of both their military and the Sea Cadets of their community” said PO1 Aroura Gagnon.

Military units were historically not allowed to march through the city with flags flying, drums beating, bands playing or bayonets fixed as they were seeking recruits, provisions or other unsavory activities. Bestowing the Freedom of the City honour on a military unit indicates that the city trusts that unit implicitly and considers it a friend.

The ceremony is part of a series of events that are commemorating the Canadian Navy’s centennial year . It will replicate a 400-year-old tradition and demonstrate the good relations between the City of New Westminster and HMCS Discovery.

“We are very proud to grant this unique privilege to the men and women of HMCS Discovery in honour of the Canadian Navy’s 100th anniversary,” said Mayor Wayne Wright. “New Westminster has a longstanding connection to our armed forces, and this is a great way to celebrate their immeasurable contribution to Canada throughout our history.”

The City of New Westminster has bestowed the Freedom of the City honour previously on four individuals and one group:
1946 - Lt Col Gordon Corbould
1955 - J. J. Johnston, for attending every May Day for 85 years
1958 - Lt Col John Keefer Mahony (V.C.)
1958 - Sgt E.A. (Smokey) Smith (V.C.)
1963 - The Westminster Regiment
“This is a very unique and special event,” said Lt(N) Megan St. Hilaire, Commanding Officer or RCSCC FRASER.  “It is a rarely granted honour, a once in a lifetime kind of event.  We are so honoured to have been invited to participate alongside HMCS DISCOVERY and show our support for both them and the City of New Westminster.”

The ceremony began with FRASER Sea Cadets marching onto Royal Avenue, followed by HMCS Discovery.  Chief Constable Lorne Zapotichny challenged the parade’s advance.  He then accompanied LCdr Elaine Fisher, Commanding Officer of HMCS Discovery, to the door of city hall where she knocked on the door of city hall with the pommel of her sword – three times.  She then stated the purpose of her visit to Mayor Wayne Wright, who escorted her to the parade and read a proclamation granting Freedom of the City to HMCS Discovery.  

Members of HMCS Discovery, RCSCC FRASER, naval veterans and Navy League Cadets attended the ceremony.  Also in attendance were the New Westminster Pipe Band, the Royal Westminster Regiment Band, as well as members of the New Westminster Police Service and New Westminster Fire and Rescue Service as an honour guard on the steps of city hall.

"It was extremely magnificent," Mayor Wayne Wright said about the event. "It will be one of the most memorable things in my time that I had done here."

Excerpts taken from the New Westminster Record.

Commemorative Coins for Remembrance Day

In case any of you are interested, or notice one of these special coins in your change...

Lest we forget.
Every poppy worn on coats and hats during the waning, grey days of November is symbolic of a life touched by war; the countless men and women who stepped forward to serve the cause of peace and freedom.

They witnessed the worst and the best of humanity; served with selfless bravery; countless acts that fell with their heroes never to be told. And those who did return, part of them remained lost forever.

Though veterans stand proud during tributes of remembrance, their tears fall fresh as yesterday. And, as 2010 claims Canada’s last known veteran of the First World War, those of us who enjoy the liberties bequeathed by his generations’ sacrifice, pay tribute to their legacy.

This Remembrance Day, to honour every veteran and current Canadian Forces member the Royal Canadian Mint released a new commemorative 25-cent Poppy circulation coin. A touching tribute to members of Canada's military and peacekeeping forces.  

Also, issued was a silver dollar, a historic keepsake issued on the passing of the last known veteran of the First World War.  A sea of poppies, Canada’s poignant symbol of remembrance, one enameled in vibrant colour to represent the individual saga lived by each veteran of war; one of countless stories played out in conflicts around the world—past, present and future.
From the Royal Canadian Mint Website http://www.mint.ca
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them".

Laurence Robert Binyon, 1869-1943
Check out the new items for November 2010 from The Fraser Telegraph!