While recalling the damages of war will always remain relevant, this year the Remembrance Day Ceremonies brought the sufferings of times past starkly into the present in a number of ways.
At SAMS, in an assembly held on Friday, November 8, the staff and students were reminded not only of the suffering of soldiers who lost life and limb in the wars, but also those who suffered the horrors of internment camps and the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families today.
A video of the personal testimony of one internment camp survivor told of the horrors of being a woman imprisoned by hostile male soldiers and the fear of death by gas chamber.
To end the ceremony a song was played. In the last two months Bryan Adams has written a new song, honouring the soldiers who are in the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry. Adrienne Clarkson commissioned the song for the 100th anniversary of the regiment, coming in 2014.
The song’s title, ‘Ric-a-Dam-Doo,’ references a flag that was given to the original regiment that fought in World War I by the Princess Patricia herself.
‘Ric-a-Dam-Doo’ is believed to be Gaelic for ‘Cloth of Your Mother.’ The song was not recorded by Bryan Adams himself, but by a group named Homefire, comprised of the wives of soldiers based in Edmonton, AB, who are current members of the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry.
The chorus says: “Always glorious, victorious, songs of freedom fill the air, standing shoulder to shoulder ‘till the end, while the world is turning, we’ll keep the homefires burning, until we meet….again.”
During the song pictures of modern-day soldiers accompanied by reality check statements about their sacrifices were flashed on the screen. The song itself is hauntingly beautiful and deeply moving, and already hugely popular on iTunes.
The Remembrance Day ceremonies at Augsburg/The Legion were unforgettable. Cynthia Breadner welcomed the community and pointed out that we were “gathered in unity,” seeking hope, peace, love, patience and reconciliation, not boring words on a page, but symbols of the real and tangible evidence that we and our children are safe today because of the sacrifices of soldiers in the past and present.
Lois Casperson surprised us all with an original song composition, both words and music, of powerful images of what we were all there to remember. Not all eyes were dry as we walked out of the church. Both old and young attended, from babes in arms to senior citizens.
I was reminded of the wisdom of the elders with their many years of experience, the bravery of the young men, both now and before, the respectfulness and discipline of those who serve, and the precious gift of freedom we have all been given. Hopefully, our children will never need to know what it’s like to live in a time of world war, ever again.
This is the gift: that we can enjoy our Canada, the “True North Strong And Free!” For this hope and the sacrifices of many, I am ever thankful. Oh Canada, May we ever “Stand on Guard for Thee.” Let’s keep the home fires burning.