To shed some light on a photo, I can’t help but tell a story.
The air is crisp, the sun is out and the day is breezy that pushes the clouds away. Light is brighter in the dark as I hide behind the tree on this glorious November 4 morning. I was thinking and hoping that we will have the same weather when we celebrate and pay tribute to all people who served our country, Canada, on Remembrance Day. Little do I know, another light will shine upon my mind when this day is over.
Francis Pegahmagabow, an Ojibwa soldier of WWI assigned to two of the war’s deadliest jobs: working as a scout, running messages from headquarters to the front lines, and as a sniper. He was the most decorated First Nations soldier in Canadian history. He is awarded the Military Medal in 1916 and earns two bars, becoming one of just 37 Canadians to win the Military Medal with two bars. He is also awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His fight did not end after the war when he returned to Canada. His status remained an Indian: “a ward of the state” denying him the rights of a Canadian citizen.
Pegahmagabow became a leader for his people and advocated for a change fighting for indigenous rights. His legacy lives on as an example of a life of service and determination, renowned for both his bravery as a soldier in the First World War and his ceaseless struggle for his people’s rights.
Granny FlapjaX Remembers
Granny shared her personal story of her father as a soldier in WWII, returned from service and lost her dad at age 83.
Her father was held captive by the Japanese for nearly three and a half years during the second world war. The soldiers who fought in the Far East were known as the ‘Forgotten Army’ because they were.
After arriving back from the Far East, he was invalided out of the Army, despite having had a bright future ahead of him when he joined. He was given £7.00 and a tin of cocoa and basically told to go and “get on with his life.”
Then in the mid-1990’s following a documentary he was involved with for the BBC, titled ‘Not Forgotten,’ he was asked by a doctor to take part in a study into the effects of trauma, now known as PTSD.
Granny wants us to remember the countless men and women who gave their lives that we owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. So the very least we can do is REMEMBER THEM.
Lighting a candle is a rich symbolism in a Christian baptism tradition. Baptism represents coming from darkness into light; the candle represents faith, light, truth and new life in Christ. As Christians, we are called to be the light bearer and let our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds. This was the baptism of my nephew’ son.
In this joyous occasion, I was surprised to see my nephew’s friend present, Glen Kirkland who came from a long line of family members that served Canada and he, in turn, enlisted and represented Canada in the 2nd Battalion PPCLI and was sent to Afghanistan. Few days before returning to Canada, his group of five was ambushed by the Taliban and he was the only one that survived. He returned to Canada a changed man fighting the war of PTSD and government bureaucracy on how they care for injured veterans that become “unserviceable,” given the boot so to speak, no pension, no medical benefits. As a result of these, he chose to use his inner light to advocate for a change taking a stand against the federal government on behalf of other injured soldiers since everyone in the military are on the same team and should receive benefits.
Canada fails the living.