Something On This Wall

Lady Haig poppy crosses.

Lady Haig poppy crosses row on row. Some with simple messages, others acknowledging a life upon the wall.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

Thread Two

The moth flies in erratic fashion fleeing the notes of multiple bugles at the Menin Gate Memorial tonight. Many visitors are here this fine and warm evening armed with cameras and children held aloft for better views. What is it that they have come to see?

Following the ceremony, the bugles rest, and the assembly lingers casting their gaze ever upward. Name upon name, elders and youth, some frail – others able to leap the stairs two at a time as regimental names provide the subject lines of the missing.

My observations have witnessed two families this evening. The elder father – a former serviceman with married son, daughter-in-law and grandson. They stand for pictures here amongst the wreaths. And yet there is one other family, with a teenager who stops his motion at the top step – turns his eyes towards the right and in an instant you see the understanding he has found. Something on this wall has mattered to this set of eyes. He lingers…we are still learning from the Great War.


About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time 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.


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