Message from Nicolas Paquin
Rest assured that I am not fighting this fight for nothing. There are three reasons for this.
Injustice first. You have to listen to the video to understand that there is an injustice to Ross. Those who made the monument to the Typhoon pilots in Noyers-Bocage deliberately omitted it because he did not die with his hands at the controls of his plane. They decided that he did not deserve to be with his brothers in arms. On the official list in the church next door, he was not counted either.
I took steps to correct the situation on this monument and was refused. Someone even had the affront of claiming that his file is a fake and that Ross was a mechanic who dressed up to appear in the squadron’s photos. Absurd and unfair.
Second reason, the meaning of sacrifice. As long as we take a name from a list for what it seems to be, a name from a list of names, we erase the humanity that that name had. There is a life behind these men, and it is my job to bring these lives back to ours.
What does Napoleon Hattote’s name mean on a monument to the victims of the Merchant Navy, if we do not make the link with his son Lauréat, miraculously but psychologically broken by the same shipwreck, and if we do not make the link with his other son Émile, killed in Holland?
Finally, the memory transfer. The younger generations no longer respond to traditional ceremonies. Conventional commemorative plaques do not speak to them. As the witnesses fade away, there is no way for them to understand what happened. A sculptural work that offers to the viewer the very symbolic face of this boy who died tragically is, in my opinion, a renewed way of commemorating. That’s the purpose of art: to allow people to see something from a different perspective.
Click here to be directed to the gofundme site.
Colorised by Doug Banks
The soldier sleeps – in distant foreign lands,
Beneath the ice or shifting desert sands.
An airman in the sun-split clouds.
The sailor in his watery shroud.
Their sacrifice, in time is lost,
With scant appreciation of the cost
Lest we forget.
The Battle Within the War
One of the things that irritated PM McKenzie King and many in Canada was the British belief was that Canada was just fulfilling an obligation. When in reality the Canadian effort was by pride a voluntary one. The British looked at the RCAF as a manpower bank for the RAF. The Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army had already kept their forces intact and not freely dispersed through out their British counterparts and Prime Minister King was bound and determined to have the RCAF a separate force on it’s own.
The government of Canada strongly insisted on what became known as “Canadianization” towards the RCAF. The formation of separate a bomber group for the RCAF was a high priority for the Canadian government and highly fought against by the RAF including the head of Bomber Command Air Chief Marshall Harris. He and his chiefs first regarded such an undertaking as a “colonial” venture doomed to failure. But Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King wouldn’t let go. The establishment of No. 6 Group would serve as an important symbol of a independent Canada. The feelings of the RAF brass towards what they looked on as a “colonial” idea was to last long into the war.
This is a comment someone made about the reblogged post titled August 2, 1945.
Thank you, Pierre, for reblogging today’s post on Wayne’s Journal. Today’s is the penultimate post. I hope that everyone that reads it will take time to read the entries under its “Notes & Commentary” section. There is a lot of information there about which most people know nothing.
I don’t know what the criteria were for shipping home remains, i.e., when was there nothing worth shipping home, of U.S. serviceman nor do I know if other countries did what we in the U.S. did.
Verne’s brother, Harry, told his wife and children that Verne’s body really wasn’t in the casket. That nothing was left of him. Yet every Christmas, Harry visited Verne’s grave and decorated it with a wreath. It was his way of honoring his brother. Harry was following the custom of many families in the U.S. Those that had loved ones buried in cemeteries overseas sometimes made arrangement for their graves to be decorated at Christmas.
It was once common at Christmas to find the graves of soldiers decorated with wreaths. As parents and brothers and sisters passed away and as families relocated to other places fewer and fewer wreaths were seen. Communities forgot those that were buried in their cemeteries and why they had died so young. Across the U.S. and at overseas military cemeteries, we are once again honoring with wreaths soldiers that have passed on. That effort is through local community groups working through an organization known as Wreathes Across America (http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/about/answering-why/). In 2014, Wreaths Across America through it network of volunteers laid over 700,000 wreaths on veterans graves at over 1,000 locations across the U.S. and overseas.
Those that died defending our country have not been forgotten nor should they ever be.
This has been on the back of my mind since I met my first WWII veteran. I have never written about it.
Are they being used?
I will let you ponder over this.
Beware of these “historians” disguised as thieves. Someone just told me about so called historians, but I already knew about it.
Medals Gone Missing is an Australian group led by Gary Traynor that tracks down stolen militaria and returns it to the family.
Same should be done here with the thieves.
My reader added this…
Peter Stoffer proposed a bill to deal with this:
OTTAWA- The recent auction of a World War II allied veterans’ medals shows why the federal government should step up and restrict the sale of veterans’ medals says Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore), the New Democrat’s Official Opposition Veterans Affairs Critic.
“I am angered that the medals of a WWII allied veteran, who fought at the Battle of Monte Cassino, have ended up at an auction for sale to the highest bidder,” said Stoffer. “Veterans’ medals should not be sold for profit at auctions, flea markets, on Ebay, or anywhere else,” said Stoffer. “It really cheapens the significance and meaning of these medals when someone profits from their sale.”
“These are the medals of our heroes and they should be proudly displayed at someone’s home, at a museum, or legion hall. They should not be displayed or sold for profit. I urge the federal government to act now and restrict the sale of veterans’ medals.”
Stoffer will re-introduce a bill in the House of Commons that would prohibit the sale of veterans’ and police medals. He noted that a Conservative MP introduced a bill in the last parliamentary session that would protect military medals with cultural significance from leaving the country.
“I urge the federal government to move quickly to restrict the sale of war medals for financial profit.”
I am turning 66 by the end of the month although I am still that little 10 year-old who is still standing in front of a display window of a men’s clothing store on Jean-Talon street in Montreal.
I am a humble person by nature, and I like to help people.
I have met several veterans since 2009 either in person or virtually.
The first one was my wife’s uncle, a sailor aboard HMCS Athabaskan. All those meetings were a most humbling experience. Seeing young kids almost 70 years later with all their recollections about WWII is most humbling.
All the veterans I met were humble except one, and I could write a book on that experience. People would not believe me so that’s the reason I will not never write about it. This veteran air gunner led me to create a blog about him and his squadron, 425 Les Alouettes, a squadron I never knew had ever existed before I met him.
When I found out he was using me for his own self-serving projects, I decided to virtually “shoot him down” on that blog. That was in August 2010.
Four years later the scars of being used are still there. But these scars are nothing compared to the scars of the veterans I met virtually or in person…