They did not waiver.
This was Canada at its best.
The Canadians at Vimy embodied the true north, strong and free.
Extract from Prince Charles’ speech, Vimy, April 9, 2017
Within these few lines some words from Canada’s national anthem, …the true north, strong and free. Words to ponder upon a ridge or to feel at home or wherever Canadians might be, some place in life or at rest in this world of ours.
This past Sunday saw thousands of visitors upon a ridge in France, gathered to remember a battle of 100 years ago. Much was mentioned, stories told and yet one story escaped our attention…those national words of our anthem and its Great War.
Robert Stanley Weir wrote the English lyrics to O’Canada in 1908 while sitting at his piano. Words of unity, a message that with the Great War it was said, “O Canada” was the patriotic song of choice among Canadians fighting in the trenches of Europe. Taking these words beyond the trenches to the men and women in uniform behind the lines, at home and abroad, instructing, training, recording – providing the administrative roles that kept the Canadian Expeditionary Force advancing let us remember them too. So too remember that casualties in war, soldiers in, and out of the line did not always die from bullets and shell bursts, gas or other human harm…but from infections and viruses, bacteria and other maladies.
One such soldier in uniform was Robert Stanley Weir’s son, Douglas, a biologist who in 1915 served our nation as an instructor in the uniform of the Canadian Army Service Corps. On 10 May 1916 Douglas joined the CEF and once overseas was appointed as Chief Forester with the Canadian Forestry Corps serving in London, England and Scotland. It was while in Edinburgh that Douglas, on attachment to the Transport Service, became ill and one day after the Great War ended, Robert Weir and his wife Margaret lost their son 12 November 1918 to pneumonia following influenza.
Captain Douglas Weir was 34 years of age.
They did not waiver…..they lived…..felt dawn…..saw sunset glow. Loved and were loved….. wherever they may be…..our home and native land…..the true north strong and free.