Monday, November 5, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

In Flanders Fields

Remembrance Day in Canada

Remembering Canadians Who Fought and Died in War

On November 11 Canadians wear poppies and gather at war memorials across Canada to pay tribute to those who died in war. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the time the Armistice of World War I was signed in 1918, we observe two minutes of silence to remember.As we continue to fight the war on terrorism, it is important to remember and teach about the wars in which so many Canadians died.

Books of Remembrance

Seven Books of Remembrance are kept in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill to honour those Canadians who died serving Canada in war. There is one for each of the wars: the South African War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. There is a separate Book of Remembrance for the Merchant Navy, and another one for Newfoundlanders, since Newfoundland did not join Confederation until 1949. The Seventh Book of Remembrance was dedicated in 2005 to honour Canadian Forces men and women who gave their lives for Canada since October 1947. It is ongoing and will honour Canadian Forces members who paid the ultimate sacrifice for generations to come. The Books of Remembrance provide a beautiful and touching testament to the Canadians who died in military service. You can scroll through the names, and also see the decorative pages.

During World War I, John McCrae, a Canadian doctor and soldier, tended the wounded and dying at the Second Battle of Ypres in the Flanders area of Belgium as the Canadians held their ground against chlorine gas attacks. When a close friend was killed and buried in a quick grave marked with a plain wooden cross, John McCrae wrote the poem In Flanders Fields.
First published in Punch magazine in 1915, the poem In Flanders Fields has become an abiding symbol of remembrance worldwide.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~John McCrae, 1915

Canada in World War I

For many, the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian John McCrae is a strong symbol of World War I. The evocative poem was written in the trenches at the Battle of Ypres in 1915 when a close friend of McCrae's was one of 6000 Canadian casualties in just 48 hours.

Canadian World War I Posters provide some insight into life in Canada during World War I. These colour posters were used as an affordable means of mass communication by the Canadian government and were put up in just about any public place where people gathered. The Canadian government produced war posters for recruitment drives, for fund raising through Victory Bonds, and to encourage the increase in production required to change the Canadian economy to support a war.
For a good idea of the battle conditions faced by Canadian soldiers, scroll through these World War I photo collections

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ideas to Help Remember

So many things to help Remember (Nov 5-11)
Interview veterans
Post books that tell the stories of soldiers & their battles
Put up photo displays in your galleries and hallways
Run movies, videos
Research the names on town memorials & cenotaphs
Profile the people on the wall of honour in legions in samall communities
Host families
Partner with the Legion
Participate in Verterans Affairs Canada programs
Those with theatres can show movies & host talks
Tell "THEIR" stories "THEY" can't

Canadian Libraries - Remembrance Week Activities. (Samples)
Halifax (Remembering the Sacrifices)
Halifax "Lest We Forget Project
Richmond BC
Toronto Ontario
Saskatoon Saskatchewan
London Ontario
Toronto Ontario
Cornwall Ontario
Pictou Antigonish Regional Library Cenotaph project
Sarnia Ontario
Libraries & Archives Canada (2007)
Clarington and area

Canadian Libraries Serving Youth
The System Learning Commons
Canada at War: A Guide to Library and Archives Canada's Websites Recalling the Canadian War Experience
Pictou Antigonish Regional Library Resources

..."More than a poppy and a closed for the holiday sign on your website!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Role of Libraries in Remembrance Week

Why should libraries go out of their way to include something to remember veterans and those that gave their lives for Canada?

Libraries have many roles today but one of their biggest is contributing to an educated population. Part of the education process is understanding how we got to where we are today. A vital part of how we got to where we are today were two World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, many Peace Keeping missions and participation in the Afghanistan War. Thousands of young men & women gave their lives or suffered terrible wounds in these wars.

These young people gave up productive lives to go off to foreign lands to protect Canadians rights to free speech, right to assemble, right to an education, freedom to read what we want to read, right to vote, a right to a free press. They went off to defend others who were/are being tortured and oppressed. They went off to bring peace to war torn countries.

Libraries have the knowledge and the resources to educate new generations about the people and the sacricfices made to bring us our freedoms.

They deserve ..."more than a poppy and a closed for the holiday sign on your website!"