How red poppies came to be given out on Memorial Day | The Cotton Boll Conspiracy

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. W…

Source: How red poppies came to be given out on Memorial Day | The Cotton Boll Conspiracy

Eye Witness Account (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

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The following has been condensed from an article by author Jim Reardon.

In the raid of 4 June, 20 bombers blasted storage tanks, a warehouse, hospital, a hangar and a beached freighter, while 11 Zeros strafed at will.  Chief Petty Officer Makoto Endo led a 3-plane Zero group whose pilots were Flight Petty Officers Tsuguo Shikada and Tadayoshi Koga, 19 years old.  Koga’s Zero, serial number 4593, was light gray, with the Imperial Rising Sun insignia on its wings and fuselage.  It had left the Mitsubishi Nagoya aircraft factory on 19 February, only 3½ months earlier, so it was the latest design.

Tadayoshi Koga Tadayoshi Koga

Earlier that day, soldiers at an US Army outpost had seen 3 Zeros shoot down a lumbering Catalina amphibian.  Most of the 7-member crew climbed into a rubber raft and began paddling to shore.  The soldiers watched in horror as the Zeros strafed the crew until…

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Canada’s Worst Avalanche Disaster

Bite Size Canada

The 1910 Rogers Pass Avalanche killed 58 men clearing a railroad line near the summit of Rogers Pass across the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia on March 4, 1910. It is Canada’s worst avalanche disaster.

Photo of workers recovering bodies from the avalanche Workers recover bodies and clear the tracks on March 5, 1910.

The winter of 1909–1910 provided conditions particularly conducive to avalanches; many slides experienced during January and February. On March 1, 96 people were killed further south into the Wellington avalanche in Washington State.

Three days later, on the evening of March 4, work crews were dispatched to clear a big slide which had fallen from Cheops Mountain, and buried the tracks just south of Shed 17. The crew consisted of a locomotive-driven rotary snowplow and 59 men. Time was critical as westbound CPR Train Number 97 was just entering the Rocky Mountains, bound for Vancouver.

Half an hour before midnight as the track was…

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Making Do …

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In the tough Depression years, a newly hired 16-year-old working at Dare’s Kitchener factory was paid 17 cents an hour. Ontario’s minimum wage for adults was 22 cents an hour!

Photo of a food line in Toronto during the Great Depression Food line at the Yonge Street Mission, 381 Yonge Street, Toronto, Canada, during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The worldwide Great Depression that started in the United States in late 1929 quickly reached Canada, and was hit hard. Between 1929 and 1939, the gross national product dropped 40% (compared to 37% in the US). Unemployment reached 27% at the depth of the Depression in 1933. Many businesses closed, as corporate profits of $398 million in 1929 turned into losses of $98 million as prices fell. Farmers in the Prairies were especially hard hit by the collapse of wheat prices.  The Depression ended in 1939 as World War II began.

Denyse Baillargeon, historian and author, uses oral histories from 30…

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo, image source Facebook

Canadians felt anger and sadness when Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo ( a reservist member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) was fatally shot while taking a turn as part of the Ceremonial Guard watching over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at 9:50 a.m. on October 22, 2014.

If there is a silver lining here, it is because of Kevin Michael Vickers, Canada’s Sergeant-at-Arms. Kevin Vickers came out of his office carrying a pistol, and shot the gunman.

Kevin Vickars, Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons
Image source: http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/2k0f0d/this_is_the_man_who_fatally_shot_the_terrorist/

But what of the National War Memorial (also known as The Response)?

It stands in Confederation Square, Ottawa, and serves as the federal war memorial for Canada.

National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) H.M. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth unveiling the National War Memorial, Ottawa, Canada, May 21, 1939.

It commemorates the First World War, and was rededicated to…

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Diplomatic Faux Pas

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There was a controversial phrase in a speech delivered on July 24, 1967, during an official visit to Canada under the pretext of attending Expo ’67 in Montreal, Quebec. So let me introduce you to President Charles de Gaulle of France.

French President Charles de Gaulle in 1963 French President Charles de Gaulle in 1963. Wegmann, Ludwig – Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive), B 145 Bild-F015892-0010

The Canadian federal government had been concerned about President de Gaulle for two reasons. One, the French government had not sent a representative to the funeral service for Governor General Georges Vanier on March 5, 1967, even though Vanier and his wife, Pauline, had been personal friends of de Gaulle since 1940; and two because later in April, de Gaulle did not attend the 50th anniversary ceremonies commemorating the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge.

In the spring of 1966, as part of the Expo ’67 diplomatic protocols, De Gaulle…

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World War One: A Centenary

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I hope that nobody is unaware of the fact that 2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War, in August 1914. To many of you, especially those still young, it might seem like a dusty old piece of history, played out on TV in black and white. You may well consider that it has no relevance any more, and it is of no interest to you whatsoever. You will have no intention of sitting through the endless documentaries, dramatised reconstructions, or worthy coverage of commemorations. Please think again. We can all learn much from the follies of this tragic conflict, and the reasons that it began.

My own grandparents were born in the year 1900. Both of my grandfathers were lucky enough to not have to serve in this war, as they only reached the required age of 18 as the war ended. Other…

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Definitely More Than Chocolates!

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Laura Secord is a Canadian chocolatier, confectionery, and ice cream company that was founded by Frank P. O’Connor. It was to commemorate the centennial of Laura Secord’s walk in 1913, and to capitalize on Canadian patriotic feelings.  In this vein, allow me to introduce you to Laura Secord, Canadian heroine of the War of 1812.

Laura Secord in 1865 Laura Secord in 1865

She was born Laura Ingersoll, on September 13, 1775 in Great Barrington, Province of Massachusetts Bay.  She died on October 17, 1868 at the age of 93, in the Village of Chippawa, Ontario.  She married James Secord in 1797 and together they had seven children:

  • Mary (1799)
  • Charlotte (1801)
  • Harriet (1803)
  • Charles Badeau (1809)
  • Appolonia (1810)
  • Laura Ann (1815)
  • Hannah (1817)

James Secord was seriously wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights early in the War of 1812. While he was still recovering in 1813, the Americans invaded the Niagara Peninsula…

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