FTLComm - Tisdale - May 29, 2000
In the little village in which I grew up there was Stanley Brown, Bill Chapman, Phil Chapman, Bill West and Ted Burnett who had served during the war, in fact Ted had even been in uniform during the first war. Around the pot bellied stove in Stan Brown's workshop the stories were told and retold and Billy and I sat wide eyed listening to the adventures but knowing full well these were more then stories of glory, these were stories of lost friends. Men like those telling the stories who's bodies were hastily buried in France, Italy or dumped overboard at sea. They were not there to tell their stories and few of those who served in World War II are around to tell us what happened now.

That is why it was a good idea for the symbolic single body of a soldier who died at Vimy Ridge to be brought to Ottawa this past week, his body lay in state and was buried once more on Parliament hill to help everyone remember the tragic and dear cost of our way of life and our democracy.

Towns all over the country have cenotaphs like the one in this picture photographed this morning, that tell of what happened, but rock piles and brass plaques are simple markers and do not stir the conscience of us all to realise the responsibility we have to stand up for democracy and enjoy the rights and privileges for which so many died.

We Canadians are a few people, unlike many other world powers we are small by comparison, yet our people left their homes and families, never to return to defend and ultimate face death on our behalf. It is a big deal and without Stanley Brown to tell you about his grisly work of repairing battle damaged tanks in which the crew had been killed in action with the tank drivers legs still in place, we do not see faces and feel the dire sacrifice of those men who knew we would only live this way if they put everything on the line and so many won everything with their own loss.

Timothy W. Shire