Lest We Forget – Remembrance Day Musings

This Friday, Nov. 9th, my wife Liza and I had the opportunity to take in a Remembrance Day Service at our children’s school, Edward Schreyer. From student-led opening remarks and poem readings, to special speakers that included my wife Liza’s Uncle Mack Kirton, it was a wonderful time of remembering the men and women who had given their lives for our freedom. My three oldest kids Caleb, Tori and Austin all participated in the school band, and in the second of two services the school held, my daughter Tori played the Last Post on her trumpet.

In the Photo: Mack Kirton, George Debarr (Previous Legion Chaplain) and Denis Adams (Legion President).

In honour of Remembrance Day, I want to share with you the following article about my Grandpa Andrew Bogle – taken from The National Post from this past August:

We see them every Nov. 11: A confetti of striking colours emblazoned across veterans’ chests as we honour those who fought for Canada’s freedom and the freedom of others.

From ‘freebies’ shared with civilians to those awarded for having the courage to serve in the trenches, from honours for maintaining tenuous peace in war-torn regions to those for tours of duty in some of the world’s most forbidding areas. They belong to Canada’s warriors. To Canada’s peacekeepers.

Andrew Bogle, 86: Seaman, Royal Canadian Navy, Calgary

“A lot of people don’t know what medals mean. Kids look at the medal, and say, ‘Oh, look at the colours!’ They like that, but it doesn’t mean much to them. I don’t feel bad. They don’t know any better. I think they should. It’s part of our history.”

1. The ’39-’45 Star: “Being a star, it’s a nice medal. It’s a campaign medal.”

2. The France-Germany Star: “We used to escort troops and supplies across from Britain [to]France. I was a helmsman, steering the ship, There were enemy submarines. I saw the SS Cuba get sunk. It was an Allied troop ship, I think it was French. It was torpedoed and going down by the stern, 250 crew, only two were killed. We picked up survivors. There was always a chance of being sunk ourselves, as the sub was still there. You were so busy picking up survivors, you don’t think of the danger so much. It could have been me.”

3. Volunteer Service Medal: “It was issued to Canadians who were in the service, but if you were overseas, there is a little bar with a maple leaf on it that tells people you were overseas.”

4. The War Medal: “Everybody got that. If you were in the war, you got it. We escorted convoys in the North Atlantic. Oh, I remember the cold, the wet, the fog, the ice. I saw 30- and 40 -foot waves on the North Atlantic. I’ve not seen that anyplace else.”

5. The Russian Medal: “For being up in the Arctic during the war. It was issued by the British Navy. It was sent to me in the mail. Canadians have never issued one. It doesn’t matter. I have the Arctic Star from the Russians and that’s enough.”

6. The Arctic Star: “Murmansk and Archangel are up in the Arctic. In Russia. Not a lot of Canadians went to Russia. During the war, we escorted supply ships. Picked up the convoys in Scapa Flow in Scotland and escorted them to Russia. North of the Arctic Circle. If you were torpedoed. we were told, you had about two minutes to live in the water, it was so cold. … The medal was issued by the Russians. We had to submit our names to the Legion and they were sent to the Russian embassy. In 1977, the Russian ambassador came out west, came to the North Calgary Legion 264 and pinned it on my chest. We had a ship’s crew reunion in Ottawa in ’89. And we were asked to go to the Russian embassy for afternoon tea. We never did get anything from the Canadians. I kind of thought we should.”

Grandpa Bogle – I salute you, and all the men and women throughout the history of our glorious nation who have fought to defend our freedom. I… remember!

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About Chris Jordan

Husband. Father. Author. Pastor. Guidance Counsellor. High School Teacher. Follower of Jesus. And I enjoy a good cup of coffee!
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One Response to Lest We Forget – Remembrance Day Musings

  1. Pingback: Remembrance Day 2013 Message – #LestWeForget #poppy | New Life

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