Lest We Forget
Do you know where this quote comes from? I am first-generation Canadian. I have heard about war since I was a little girl.
My parents were from northern Italy and were children during WWI. My mother, Elvira, lived on a farm. She saw her brother die from an infection after he was wounded in an explosion. He was ten years old. One day, she and all her family were put against a wall by a German sergeant. He held a rifle with a bayonet attached to the end under her mother’s, my nona’s, throat and threatened to kill her if her father, my nono, didn’t provide food for his men. They were hungry. My nono told him that he had given them all he had—chickens, cows and grain. The only thing left were the oxen. Because the sergeant had come so many times to the farm, he believed my nono, and spared their lives.
My father, Giovanni, was a town boy and he talked about being hungry and afraid all the time during this period.
My father’s family came to Timmins in the late 1920s as there was work in the mines and they were basically starving in Italy. My father, however, had to stay behind as he had to do his mandatory military service first. He was an Alpine soldier. They all were Brownshirts and his general was Mussolini. He marched before Mussolini in Milan. He finally joined his family in Canada in 1930 then brought my mother and brother over just before WWII started in 1939.
In 1942, the RCMP came and took him away for a couple of days because he was the “enemy”—a Brownshirt. When he built our house in Timmins, he mixed the shirt in with the cement for the front stairs so it would never to be found again. He always said that Canada is the best country in the world. However, my parents never forgot what happened to them during WWI and told us children about it. The fear of war has stayed with me since.
So, what has this got to do with “Lest We Forget”?
In Grade 8, at E.W. Farr Memorial School, our teacher and principal, R.D. (Mac) MacArthur required us to learn and recite one million lines (okay, maybe 200) of memory work. One of my choices was Recessional by Rudyard Kipling. This was the first time I heard the phrase “Lest We Forget.” I don’t know why I chose to memorize this poem. As a 12-year-old, I really didn’t understand the meaning but I remember that it made me feel sad and I thought it was about war. Then as an adult, when I heard those words again, I knew they were from the poem I had memorized.
Searching online recently I found that Kipling had written it in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The poem has five stanzas. The first one begins with the speaker talking about the battles that Britain had fought and that all British people should remember them. This stanza and the rest, except the last, ends with “Lest We Forget.” So, here we are, in 2022, Russia is at war with Ukraine and there is so much turmoil in this world! We are so fortunate to live in Canada. We are so “free” that we can even protest the government’s and health officals’ mandate to get a vaccine to save our lives and our families’ lives.
Go for a walk in Fonthill, down Pelham Street, Peace Park and around the Meridian Centre and look at the banners. Reflect on the sacrifices made by all these people who went to war for our freedom. Take a minute and remember them.
Go and buy a Poppy and celebrate all the freedoms we have as Canadians.
As my Father, Giovanni, said, “This is the best country in the world.” Let us never forget.
Vilma Moretti Fonthill
Hat-tip for the meaty content
I finally finished reading all of the November 2 Voice, a newspaper that honestly cares about its readers and the community it serves. It’s almost as good as turning the clock back an hour.
In no particular order of appreciation I will start with, “The Balanced Life,” by John Swart, outstanding advice that matches its title. Larry Cote and needed “behavioural guidelines.” “Shake It Up”— terrific health tips by Rob Shook. Rob Weatherby’s “Faith Lift,” always relevant and interesting. The incredible “plate-licking-quality” waffle brunch served at the Fenwick Fire Hall by the fantastic volunteers of The Friends Of Maple Acre Library on Saturday morning. The “Opposition Group” volunteering their time to preserve the beauty of our community. The Poppy Campaign reminding us all of the importance of history and especially those that gave their lives for our freedoms we enjoy today. We need to know where we were to better choose where we are going and that we can get there.
Readers please support your local businesses. They help keep all our property taxes lower. Amazon and online shopping do not.
P. Bryant Pelham
Putting away the grill tongs for the season
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who came out to the farm and supported us this year. Your continued support is amazing, we've seen old friends and made new friends. Thank you for supporting local and hope to see you all again soon.
Sherry Rusin Country Boys Fenwick
Poppy Campaign and Remembrance Day Service
As we enter the month of November, Branch members have been meeting regularly since the beginning of September developing and finalizing our plans for the annual Poppy campaign and Remembrance Day service.
We know that in previous years in late October and early November, the citizens of Pelham have pinned a poppy to their lapels and then on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, they have paused for two minutes to honour and remember those who have served and continue to serve our country. For that, our Branch members and especially our veterans say, “Thank you.”
This year, the members of our Talbot Trail Branch have decided to hold one Remembrance Day service. This service will take place on November 11, beginning at approximately 10:45 AM, in Veterans Park on Legion grounds.
We invite the residents of Pelham to attend our service. If you wish to watch our service in the comfort of your home, the service will be livestreamed courtesy of Niagara College’s students and staff from the Broadcasting- Radio, Television and Film (BRTF) program. The live stream link is https://bit.ly/3sZIYGc
Weather permitting, there will be a fly-by during the service, sponsored by our Town of Pelham.
Our annual Poppy campaign is underway and encompasses the period of October 28 to November 11 inclusive. Members of the planning committee have canvassed businesses and organizations who have accepted Poppy collection boxes in previous years as well as new businesses and we are pleased to advise that approximately 150 collection boxes have been distributed to businesses throughout the Town. We are also pleased to announce that Pelham Hills Pharmacy is this year’s Poppy Campaign kick-off sponsor.
We are asking the citizens of Pelham for your continuing support of our Poppy campaign which raises funds to sustain a variety of programs and initiatives to assist veterans and their families as well as sponsoring cadet and youth programs and making available bursaries for the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of our veterans. We also make financial donations to entities like Camp Maple Leaf, a not-for-profit sleepover camp for children of military families; the Homeless Veterans program, the Niagara Health Foundation and the Juravinski Cancer Centre through our Poppy Fund. More information on the uses of the Poppy Fund can be found at www.on.legion.ca
If you are inclined to support our campaign in 2022 without accessing the Poppy collection boxes, you can send us a cheque payable to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 613. We also accept payment at our Branch via cash, credit card or debit card. You may also send an e-transfer to: [email protected] Under the “comments” section, please insert “Poppy Fund donation.”
Please note the best time to visit the Branch is between the hours of 12 noon to 7 PM each day. Finally, there are three “Poppy tap boxes” available for use during this year’s campaign. They are located in the Meridian Community Centre, Sobeys, and the Fenwick Pharmacy.
On behalf of all our veterans, we thank you in advance for your continuing support of our Poppy campaign. Pelham residents have always responded favourably to community-based initiatives, and we are hoping you will do so again for our 2022 Poppy campaign!
Members of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 613 Fonthill
B22389 Gnr. W.J. Brown 19. Army Fld. Reg. 55 Bty. R.C.A August 6, 1944
Dear [Rev.] Hampson,
From the bloody battlefields in France where the shells and bombs are dropping all around I’m answering the letter I received from you about a week ago. Its been very busy and I haven’t had time to write.
Well putting all kidding aside it is a grim battle over here and the shells are landing close. It is only by the good grace of God that we are still alive and by your prayers at home.
We thought our time in here had really come when a shell landed within a few feet of our tank and we were sitting on that side, but as luck would have it, it didn’t explode. On invasion day as we were coming in and was right near the beach our rudder on the craft broke and we had to go back out to get it fixed, in return the bridge that took our place on the beach received two shells in the middle of it. Since then we have come up against almost everything that they could throw at us and came out on top.
Your prayers are being answered I’m sure and I’d like to thank you personally for that.
The food over here was very grim for a long time, but is beginning to improve a lot now. I’m glad to hear the church and [Summer] School attendance is still holding up, as it must be pretty hard for the people to get to the services.
It is Sunday over here but to us on the Battle front its just another day. No Services of any kind and just sitting here waiting to kill some more Jerries, before they get us. I hope and pray that this war will stop before too long, while I am still in one piece and while all our friends are still in good health. Since I’ve been into the army I’ve never been sick. Since I came overseas I’ve never been on sick parades. I’ve never had as much as a cold. On the barge coming here, nearly all the fellows were sick including the sailors, but not me. I don’t know what [it] is, but I have managed to skip all of these things.
We went back of the lines for four day’s rest the only rest we’ve had since the invasion and we just came back yesterday. I don’t mind coming back because I’d like to see it finished and to do my little part that is expected of me to do.
Well I guess I’d better close now. Hoping to hear from you next month.
Au Revoir As Ever,
This is one of many local wartime letters now on display at the Maple Acre library branch, in Fenwick, through November. Stop in for a visit to read more.
Letter to Ford
You are showing all the characteristics of a dictator these days. You are a total disgrace to the memory of your late brother Rob, who was a compassionate and good-listening leader. Soon it will be Remembrance Day and I wonder how the courageous soldiers would feel seeing the Canada they gave up their lives for paved over with reckless regard by a politician?
Hamilton and surrounding area residents have worked exceptionally hard to get their message across of not expanding the boundaries, not paving over precious farmlands and wetlands, etc. But you are simply acting too ignorant to take their request into your heart. You seem not to have any concept of climate change or the connection with destroying nature. You are disrespecting the whole entire farming community.
The housing hype has not been thought through, rather it is being rammed through by you and your developers while in the meantime you about to affect the health and lives of all Canadians.
We need food to live and clean air to breath. Where do you get the right? Have you forgotten you were elected, not anointed?
Faye Suthons Welland
No apologies for Catholic support
Tom Crawford is entitled to his opinion about whether or not I should be Trustee in the Catholic School Board [“Religion in schools, and handguns,” Letters, Oct. 26, p.5], but his attempt at describing the Catholic Church as “obstructionist” when it comes to the development and championing science is laughable.
If we’re going to indulge in dueling books, I suggest he read Rodney Stark’s book, “Bearing False Witness.” Rodney Stark was a Protestant professor of sociology at Baylor University (recently deceased, RIP) with no love of the Catholic Church. Yet in his research of the original documents relating to several subjects when it came to the Church, he was startled to discover that much of the anti-Catholic myths that he had absorbed were untrue, indeed, “fraudulent.” Only one of them is about Galileo. In my experience, Galileo is about the only person anti-Catholics throw up all the time to “prove” that the Catholic Church is “anti-science.”
Stark writes, “As for Galileo, he never spent a day in prison, and he didn’t really get in trouble for his science… but for arrogant duplicity.” Further, he writes, “Moreover, the great scientific achievements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were not made despite the Church; they were the culmination of normal scientific progress that took place through the centuries in the universities founded, controlled and staffed by the Church.”
Entire books have been written about the accomplishments of churchmen in advancing knowledge so I won’t list them here, but I’d also recommend, “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization” by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. Therefore, I make no apology for saying what I did.
Irma Ruiter Fonthill
COTE'S COMMENTS | Larry Coté
The gift of gratitude
One of the weaknesses we people succumb to can be diagnosed as taking things for granted. That is an unbecoming behaviour and especially when it hurts others if they are unjustifiably ignored. Take a moment and I bet you will come up with someone or group you have unintentionally ignored. Any such list is much longer than the limits of this column, or the pages of this newspaper. To illustrate my point, what follows here is a mere sampling of those inexcusably taken for granted.
Take the police as an example. While those who break the law don’t much like the police, law-abiding citizens should acknowledge how their police service keeps them safe from harm day and night. They keep peace and order in sometimes difficult conditions and events. They help to prevent criminal activities so the citizenry is not harmed by unsavoury elements. However, many of us take those in our police services for granted. We should be regularly acknowledging how grateful we are for their service and commitment to keep us safe from being victimized. Next time you see a cop give him or her a wave or a thumbs up. That gesture could help you both have a better day.
Another group we take for granted and should more often express our gratitude for are those in the education community. You know that little rapscallion down the street? His teachers have to deal with such misbehaviour all day while trying to teach well-behaved children their ABCs. If you think dealing with your little ones tires you out, think about having to manage 20 or 30 of them for hours each day. Giving your kids’ teacher a little bag of homemade fudge or any such token is deserved and will help their day be a better one.
The next group we should acknowledge more often is our local farmers. What a great bunch they are to provide us with unquestionably the best produce one can buy. These folks don’t work by the hour, but by the day and night. Caring for crops of all sorts is onerous labour and in spite of that complexity taken for granted. The next time you encounter a farmer be sure to give them a friendly wave and the biggest smile you can muster. Like most of us, they also like to be recognized for the goodness they bring to our lives.
The medical community is not being ignored here as those members are regularly top of mind to most people and especially so throughout the pandemic. Unquestionably, they should be given a lengthy standing ovation.
Well, as you can see there are many individuals and groups that make our lives more livable and yet are often taken for granted. If on occasion you are recognized for some contribution you have made, consider passing along such a gesture to others you encounter. After all, they also deserve the pleasant feelings you experienced when being recognized.