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  • Charity Selected

    October 28th, 2013 she Posted in Those Who Volunteered No Comments »

    Each year I count poppies and then make a donation to a charity that inspires me. This year, I’ve decided to donate the funds generated through my poppy count to Valour Place. Valour Place is a temporary home away from home for all Canadian Forces members, Families of the Fallen, Veterans and RCMP along with their families who require medical treatment in Edmonton. Through Valour Place, they have the means to face the challenges of rehabilitation in a warm, welcoming and supportive environment. Hope away from home.

    I’ve spent a significant amount of my knitting time this month working on poppies for knitmonton’s Valour Place Project. Working on the project has made me run the gamut of emotions;   pride (yay! I figured out how to sew the petals together), frustration (when Nat tried to teach me to crochet and I just couldn’t get the yarn into the correct hands!),  relief (when I FINALLY managed to figure out loopysue’s knitflat pattern).. you get the idea.

    I’ve got last night of knitting tonight and then it’s time to put it all together…which I’m told involves more attempts to teach me to crochet. Those poor, patient women who try to teach me things!

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    2013 Poppy Campaign

    October 25th, 2013 she Posted in Those Who Volunteered No Comments »

    Poppies will be available for sale to the general public on October 25th. That’s today for those of you playing along at home.

    After last year’s moving experience with Drew and his family in Ottawa, I’m back to honouring Remembrance Day alone. Drew will be on parade in Cool Pool. I haven’t yet decided which of the ceremonies I’ll go to. I’ve never been to the one at the Butterdome; I hear it is the largest in the city. I suspect I’ll go back to the Ledge.

    Edmonton, you’re on notice. I’ll be counting poppies beginning on Oct 25th to determine what the $$ amount of my charitable donation(s) will be this year. As always, I’m donating $0.10 for every poppy I see on my wanders throughout the city (Legion poppies, not the handmade ones we’re working on for the Valour Place art installation). I’ve yet to decide which organization(s) I’ll be donating to this year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your part to make some fabulous organizations very happy. Buy a poppy. Wear your poppy.

    I’ll be counting for the next 18 days.

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    and in the going down of the sun

    November 11th, 2011 she Posted in Those Who Volunteered 1 Comment »

    For those who have served and fallen – both during their service or after retirement – take a moment to remember their sacrifice.

    Great Grandpa. Serjt Alexander Cumming. Royal Highlanders (Black Watch). Died 25/09/1915. Age Unknown. Panel 78 to 83. LOOS MEMORIAL (Dud's Corner, British Cemetary, Loos, France

    Serjt Alexander Cumming. S/N: 3/3748. 9th Bn Royal Highlanders (Black Watch). Died 25/09/1915. Age (at time of death) unknown.


    Black Watch

    Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)



    This notice has hung on the wall in my parent’s home for as long as I can remember…


    Dud Corner British Cemetary

    Dud Corner British Cemetary. Site of LOOS MEMORIAL. Loos, France

    Dud Corner British Cemetary. Loos, France.

    Dud Corner British Cemetary. Loos, France

    Black Watch missing are listed on Panels 78 - 83. LOOS MEMORIAL.

    The missing of the Black Watch are listed on Panels 78 – 83. LOOS MEMORIAL.

    95 years later. April, 2011


    Grandma and Grandpa Grandpa in the Pacific Grandpa

    CPO William Cumming. Royal Navy. WWII



    Dad. Royal Canadian Navy. Peacetime.


    CFB Borden. Late 1950s/Early 1960s

    Boot camp. CFB Borden. Late 1950s/Early 1960s


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    lest we forget

    November 10th, 2011 she Posted in Those Who Volunteered No Comments »

    im_rempoppy.gif They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.

    – excerpt from For The Fallen, Laurence Binyon

    In recent years there have been some discussions surrounding whether or not war is ever justified and if Canada should be shifting it’s focus away from combat missions and moving towards revamping our military to solely support peacekeeping and humanitarian aid roles. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica: Whether it is always sinful to wage war? says:

    Those who wage war justly aim at peace, and so they are not opposed to peace, except to the evil peace…We do not seek peace in order to be at war, but we go to war that we may have peace.

    I don’t believe in war for the sake of war, dominance or economics. I do believe that true evil exists and must be fought when encountered. I’d like to think I judge each mission the Canadian Forces are involved in on their own merit. Many wars have been fought during the course of human history. Many have faded to memory. A few, such as the first and second world wars will likely do the same as the few remaining survivors of war’s horror slowly fade to dust. If we are to learn from history and move forward, we must never forget our past. I worry many days that we are heading in that direction – forgetting the sacrifices of those who fought for freedom from tyranny. Each year, fewer and fewer of those who fought during WWI and WWII remain alive. Fewer people attend Remembrance Day ceremonies and sport poppies. Please take a moment to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in your local area. Visit a local Legion and spend time with our veterans. If you’re unable to attend ceremonies at a local cenotaph please observe two minutes silence at 11:00am. You can also spend some time visiting the following sites:

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    Are we forgetting?

    November 8th, 2011 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit, Those Who Volunteered No Comments »

    In 2010 the last Canadian veteran of WWI passed away; a moment in history that should have been stamped upon each of our memories. It’s not. Many I’ve encountered are not even aware this milestone has passed. The last survivor of a ghastly event in our history is gone. Aside from stories collected over the years, there is no one left to stand before us and remind us how horrific man can be towards his fellow man.

    Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial
    Inscription on Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial

    When I was a child, Remembrance Day wasn’t a holiday. If November 11 fell on a school day, we spent the day in classes, breaking to attend ceremonies at the nearest cenotaph. Some schools held Remembrance Day assemblies in addition to attending the cenotaph. When I was an air cadet, we left classes early to participate but returned to the normal school routine once the ceremonies were over. I don’t recall when the change was made to provide us a day off on the 11/11. Perhaps not until I’d graduated and moved on to University. I’m sure some of my old classmates can correct any errors in my memories of the time period.

    The ceremonies were somber. Often delivered on a cold day where the remaining WWI, WWII and Korean veterans quietly stood, as erect as possible, with dignity and determination. And tears in their eyes.

    By the time I reached high school, I remember being disturbed by the apparent lack of respect my generation had for both the day and the veterans who came to speak at our school and our cenotaphs. Poppies were often flung to the floor as soon as the day’s assembly was over. I recall my horror at this casual attitude towards the poppy and all it represented as being the motivation behind my second place finish (provincial level) in the Royal Canadian Legion’s writing contest. I mused then that we were beginning to forget; beginning to cease caring. I hoped I was wrong. 20 years on, I fear my younger self may have been on to something.

    Perhaps it’s a commentary on where I live, work and play, but I’ve noticed a trend in who I see wearing poppies in my wanders these past few weeks; the elderly (not unexpected), visible minorities, and the marginalized (homeless, addicts, working poor, etc.). Those I would expect to be wearing poppies – businessmen and women, students (both k-12 and university/college age), and middle aged – seem to be few and far between in my counts. That’s not to say that no one in the previously mentioned categories is wearing poppies. I’m just not encountering them often in my day-to-day routines.

    Wearing a poppy isn’t about condoning wars. It isn’t about glorifying one nation’s soldiers over another’s. It’s about taking a few minutes to acknowledge that horrific things have happened in our past – and continue to happen on a daily basis in the present – brought on by greed, politics, ethnocentrism, gender bias and a host of other sources. It’s about recalling that, on a regular basis, we have asked the impossible of our young men and women; generation after generation. We’ve asked them to leave their homes, their families, their work, their futures and their sanity. For many, our politics have resulted in the sacrifice the soldier’s and support worker’s lives.

    Remembrance Day shouldn’t be another holiday; a day off work or school to play or shop. It should be a somber reminder that when egos and icons become too big for their britches, we tend to ask too much of some of our citizens. And they deserve our acknowledgement and respect for answering the call time after time. Considering all they have given, a moment of silence to consider both what they’ve gone through and what we expect of the current crop of soldiers is hardly too much to ask. Nor is wearing a poppy to display a visible reminder to those few WWII, Korean, and the ever growing new crop of Afghanistan war veterans that, for a moment in time, we appreciate and thank them for their service.

    I, for one, refuse to forget.

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