Canada’s Birthday from Coast to Coast to Coast

Dedication of the National War Memorial, St. John's, Newfoundland. (Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador via Wikipedia).

Dedication of the National War Memorial, St. John’s, Newfoundland. (Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador via Wikipedia).

July 1 – Remembrance and Celebration

Its Canada’s birthday a time to reflect on the past 150 years of counting though we well recognize that there was much time before the counting. We celebrate our achievements, cast our minds upon our foibles, provide recognition, and generally say good things about ourselves. Within the glow of our hearts we watch from coast to coast to coast our people. But this day too is one of the greater known anniversaries of the Great War the 1st of July when the British Army on the first day of the Somme, 101 years ago met the might of those against it and suffered nearly 20,000 men killed and more than 57,000 wounded on this single day.

One of the regiments with the British Army was the Newfoundland Regiment who, every Canada Day, not only commemorates its losses of this day but, having joined Canada March 31, 1949, celebrates this nation’s birthday.

It was at Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France that the Newfoundland Regiment, at the end of the day, had only 68 men remaining to answer to the roll call. With 324 killed and 386 wounded the words of Robert Laurence Binyon remind us…

Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them

On 1 July 1924 the Newfoundland National War Memorial was dedicated at St. John’s, Newfoundland by Field Marshall Douglas Haig.

National War Memorial stamp issued by Newfoundland, 3 January 1928.

National War Memorial stamp issued by Newfoundland, 3 January 1928.

And so as we watch the sun rise and roll across the horizon and settling as it does at the end of the day, let us recall all those who gave and were left to recall those who passed through the Canadian gate towards the light. It is a day to celebrate but also a day to pause. Happy Birthday to all Canadians of those from time immemorial through to these counting years. From sunrise to sunset we will remember them…and in that spirit a Canadian sunset.


About The Author

pferguson
In April 2007 Paul met Casey and Ian Williams of the Paradigm Motion Picture Company in Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul has worked with Paradigm since 2009 as Producer and Historian. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was amazed by films such as David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

Comments

One Response to “Canada’s Birthday from Coast to Coast to Coast”

  1. Dave Waugh says:

    Hi Paul ! Great talent you have ! A joy reading your articles ! Briefly spoke to you at the Cumberland cemetery. You have sparked my interest about Robert Smith ! I can not find any information as of yet but just starting. I did find out that The other name on the tombstone is a Turner(John). BC archives shows he died Feb. 8, 1922.

    Best regards Dave

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