Remembrance Day is the one day of the year that I am the proudest to call myself Canadian. It is a day to spend honoring those who served their country in times of conflict. Some of these men and women made the ultimate sacrifice wearing the Maple Leaf on their sleeves. So this weekend I care not about the game I love, but think about the country I love, and how fortunate I am that there are heroes out there that are willing to go to the end of the earth to protect the rights and freedoms we are so privileged to have.
There are many ceremonies around the country this Sunday that you can attend, and if you do, during your moment of silence, remember the sacrifices made by those before us. Take a moment to thank those that gave their lives for us.
Great men such as;
Allan McLean “Scotty” Davidson, killed in action on June 16th, 1915 in Belgium. Before he took up the call to arms Davidson was the captain of the Toronto Blueshirts for the 1913-1914 season, in which he led the National Hockey Association in goals with 23. When the war started he volunteered with the Canadian Expeditionary Force where he served as a lance-corporal for the Eastern Ontario Regiment. Davidson was inducted posthumously in 1950 to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Dudley “Red” Garret, killed in action November 24, 1944 off the coast of Newfoundland while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy aboard the HMCS Shawinigan. Garret played 23 games for the New York Rangers during the 1942-43 season. The trophy that bears his name is awarded annually to the rookie of the year in the American Hockey League.
Joe Turner, reported missing in action December 13th, in the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest. The battle was the longest single battle the United States Army has ever fought. He was declared KIA on January 21st, 1945. Turner, a goalie, only played 1 game in the NHL, for the Detroit Redwings. He was best known for his stellar play in the American Hockey league, where he started in that league’s first all-star game. He also led his team, the Indianapolis Capitals, to a Calder Cup title. The no longer operating International Hockey League named their championship title the Turner Cup to honor Joe’s ultimate sacrifice.
When I was young I would sit around the supper table and listen to my Grandpa and Grandma tell their stories. My grandpa was too young to enter the war, though not for lack of trying, so while he and my grandmother lived in London during the battle of Britain he served as a Bomb Warden during the Battle of Britain, and my grandmother worked in a coffee shop. The thing I remember most is that my grandfather told stories of others heroism, never his own. He lost many friends during WW2 and you can still see the emotion on his face when he speaks of the war.
I am very lucky that my Grandfather is still with us, and he still likes to share his stories. He shared one today about the last Canada Day Parade, he was riding in a convertible and during a slowdown of the parade, someone came up to the veterans sat in the car, shook all of their hands and said thank you. You could see on his face and hear in his voice how much that hand shake meant to him. If you are lucky enough to see a veteran this weekend, stop and thank him or her, shake their hand. I promise it will make their day.
There aren’t many veterans of the great wars left, so it is now up to us to carry these stories on the our sons and daughters so that we never forget the sacrifices that were made for us to live life in the comforts we have become accustomed too.