Comments starting Dec 2015 with latest update 4 Dec 16
The Annual Wreaths Across Canada National Service of Remembrance
Wreath Laying Ceremony December 4, 2016, 1330 to 1500 hrs took place at Beechwood National Military Cemetery in Ottawa. The public and youth were invited to participate in this most personal act of remembrance by placing a wreath on a headstone of a Veteran buried at Beechwood National Military. Many Gdsm and dependents and other service personnel, having had wreaths placed on their headstone in large part thanks to the many volunteers: for example, Gerry Wharton, past President of The Canadian Guards Association, was cited during the ceremonies from the podium with glowing accolades for many hours of organizing and providing detailed expertise, contributing to the success of the organization,"Wreaths Across Canada". Gerry Wharton, those of us who have attended have you to thank for another excellent show on the national stage, " Honouring the Veteran" at their final resting place. Well done "Sir"
"Howie" Pierce, Gdsm
you are very kind. It has been an honour to have been part of this dedicated group of men and women who strive to honour the 218,000 men and women who served in the Canadian Armed Forces and who are buried in military cemeteries and plots across the Country.
Today, similar services were held in St John's NL, the National Cemetery of the Canadian Forces, Notre Dame Cemetery Ottawa and two cemeteries in Winnipeg. We estimated 1,200 to 1,500 showed up today
Wreaths Across Canada expects at least two, possibly three other cities, will join next year.
After nine years l have decided to let it go but as you saw today, they wouldn't let me let me do it.
Glad we were able to find Karl and Annegrete Luebke's grave.
....... Gerry W
The Poppy Table - by Howie Pierce
Just about anywhere you travel in Canada during the first two weeks in November, one can witness small gatherings in front of the Poppy Table. A folding table covered with a variety of Poppies, wreaths, and volunteers from the community. One can witness Legionnaires, Veterans, and young volunteers doing their honourable duty collecting funds. These young and older volunteers collect donations for the Legion during the yearly poppy drive. In doing so, they witness an outpouring of compassion for the Legion causes, raising awareness and the importance of remembering: those who made the supreme sacrifice, never coming home; or those maimed for life with physical or mental disabilities or both.
These donations, mainly pocket coin and more often than not 5,10 or 20 dollar bills ... all from the heart, often some will give on the way into the store and toss another coin on the way out. The older Canadian citizen, bless them ... those folk who were left behind to weep over losses of family members and friends are reminded of the many losses of life throughout our history, all for the cause protecting our freedom. It is an education in itself for the younger generations of children, usually students who volunteer. They witness first hand the kindness extended, the giving of the ordinary folk keeping the memory alive.
By assisting at the Poppy Table these younger members do bear witness to the many stories and experience of those among us who will take the time, and make a simple donation, or leave a story of loss ... in most cases no receipt please, just want to help out the Legion causes, and on their way out the door, it may be they are made to feel better ... Stopping, speaking for a moment or two with a veteran or a volunteer sitting behind the Poppy Table.
Each year this veteran's experience at the Poppy Table, as a prelude to Remembrance Day, usually the week prior to 11 November can be seen standing there with one of my grandchildren, witnessing the parade making that simple donation ... placing it into the little box for the Legion to disperse in support of the many Legion charitable causes.
I had never thought to help out, until a few years back a good friend of mine, now deceased, a Veteran of the Korean Conflict, asked me to stand with him at Brown's Independent Groceries outlet in Stittsville as his assistant at the Poppy Table. We would greet the public as they departed with their weekly provisions ... dressed in our regimental blazer with regimental accoutrements of a retired Canadian Forces soldier. I recall standing there with my friend the late Major Bill MacIver, it was my first experience greeting the public as a Veteran volunteer. Often responding to some of the questions advanced by the donating patrons. Some of the questions still resonate: where did you serve; what are those metals for; do you know my uncle?
My grandchildren now accompany me taking it all in, as they had never known what it was I had done all those years during my military service. Some of the questions advanced are from a period before my time, usually relating to World War 2. Because of my age, I'm nearing 80 years I would inform them, in those days we were young lads, still in elementary school in Arnprior. At the time we were tasked to pick milkweed pods, being informed they were used to stuff aircraft seats on the Lancaster bombers, or another tasking was to take all the metal junk we would pick up from outside of homes, load into our wagon then wheel off to Baker's scrap yard, later to be turned into weapons of war. We had no idea if these tales of woe were true, or were they old wives tales. Such were the duties of the young during the war years 1939 to 1945.
Who were we to question the wisdom of our elders, because there was no such thing as "Google" to verify the information ... so we took it as possible propaganda! I mention this as they were some of the many stories heard by my grandchildren: Christopher, Tyler, and Tiana as they assisted their "Opa" while tending the Poppy Table. All interesting experience advanced by the public up to, and including a 92-year-old lady who was married to a 90-year-old veteran; may I point out both are still active and very much alive enjoying their outing. Another young lad 15 or so, approached the donation box with a small plastic pouch the same one used for the sandwich, now filled with dimes and nickels, even a few pennies ... emptying the contents into the small slot atop of the donation container presently overflowing with bills. This pleasant young lad took his time...stuffing his donation into the container. I thought what a wonderful gesture ... no doubt took a few months collecting his gift ...gave me a warm feeling that someplace a mother or father or even a veteran grandfather instilled the importance of giving back. Yea Canada!
No, there are no trophies for these young volunteers at the Poppy Table ... theirs is the pleasure of meeting all that are still remembering, those having gone before, to this day still resting in fields afar... is there a better way to gain the knowledge; first hand, and in person, working the Poppy Table?
This solemn duty left to us each and every November, leading up to "Remembrance Day, 11 November", this is a practice reminding all, "freedom continues to have a cost"!
Howie P (Oct 2016)
Mark & family - we have today received your most welcome card. And Antony, I have just revisited a couple of your past emails with such excellent attachments. Jim's family, like all whose lives he touched, are the Future he bequeathed to us. (We're a tad tardy with our greetings this year, because of a 2016 deadline for endless revisions to another dusty tome Yr Hmbl Svt has committed. Forgive.)
Kit and I send Season's wishes to all the McManuses for a Festive Solstitial Holiday bringing new Light, and a HOPEFUL New Year 2016!
Slàinte vor, slàinte banrighan
slàinte agus buigh gu brath,
Kit and Steve
Thank you for your vote of confidence and good wishes. I was honoured by the Association by being made a life member at the time of the launching of “A Regiment Worthy of Its Hire” in 1997.
PS: As the “Rock” exclaimed after dressing down a pre-Christmas parade at the Depot, “By the way, Merry Christmas!”, so say I to all my Guards friends.
I was Bob's (Partridge)Deputy Platoon Comd, as an Officer Cadet in Valcartier - 1952. We served as Pl Comds along with Bill MacIver , in Korea. Coy Comd was Kevin Kierans with Chuck Carlson as 2 ic. Bob was always a very supportive friend to me.
Gentlemen of The Canadian Guards Association ... Happy New Year, 2016.
(click follow link)
Time passes us by ... we are becoming painfully aware the ending of the Association, as we know it will be removed from the light of day.
In a few years, this Association will become a memory. It shall happen "there will be nobody left"! Together we have carried the torch of our Regiment like no other, strong and vibrant, proud of our accomplishments to the very end.
I, for one will always be a proud Guardsman. A Regiment Worthy of its Hire.
Happy New Year 2016, to all who served faithfully and loyally their Queen, Country and The Regiment of Canadian Guards.
The present day Executive and those in our past "Thank You all". Your dedication, professionalism has made our Regimental Legacy honourable; our gratitude is yours to celebrate.
Howie P, Gdsm