Friday, November 14, 2014

R for Remember

My "R" post theme for ABC Wednesday (catching up three days late with my apologies) will be a simple one of remembrance.   Below, you can listen to a song by Shawn Hook.  We met him once along the seawall a few months ago and enjoyed listening to him.  He has since made a new recording called "Million Ways" available at that link above.  But, the song he composed and posts each year for Remembrance Day is special.  The voice of a soldier explains that all he wants is peace.  He asks for respect rather than judgment.  

We rode our bikes to Victory Square on the 11th.
Whether portrayed in red, or in black and white, we recognize sacrifices made. 
I was reminded of the simple things as I looked around at people and their..
pets.  Sun, warmth, revived spirit, relationships (pet or person).. the things we treasure.  
The recent harsh reminder of two Canadian soldiers taken down in their homeland was all too fresh in people's memories.
There was a little more security than usual, the faces resolute,
though the razzmatazz of marching music brought smiles too. 
The faces in my photographs, in retrospect, spoke eloquently.  
Some just starting out on the road to adulthood, 
others more worn but stirred to record the moment.
memories of comrades lost,
renewed determination to do the dead proud,
Left, right, left..  stand tall, stay in step..  don't let them down.
I thought how fortunate we are to be healthy and able to ride our bikes to the ceremony. Some struggled to be there.  I hope their spirits were  revived by the obvious emotion and care in so many faces. 
This morning, I checked out the Phrontistery site for rarely used words that begin with "R" and found "rataplan" (a drumming sound) and "rappel" (call to arms by the beat of a drum).
Though the intense focus of this gentleman particularly touched my heart, I would wish for his drum to rat-a-tat-tat its way to happier messages.
There was quite a number of well-behaved dogs, and it did seem they responded.. 
to the tone of reverence that filled the air.
Black Jack, Bill and I stayed near the top of the park.  We felt rather than saw many of the rituals of the ceremony.  A year ago, Bill was in hospital, so sharing this experience with him was all the sweeter to me.  Bill's ribbon is in memory of the two Canadian soldiers slain.
Youth was beautifully represented for me by this gentleman, his friend, and their..
respective dogs.
There was a quiet rapport between the two dogs, 
and between the two gentlemen..
 that recalled good times shared.
Two guys and their dogs and their skateboards standing together. 
 Yet another reminder to thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice..
so that we can fully live and un-reservedly play when the opportunity arises. 
Victory Square is surrounded by historical buildings with walls that must ring still with the haunting strains of the Last Post
and Lament. 
Though the sun shone, there was a strong (and cold) wind, and throughout the ceremony, leaves left their branches and spun as though caught in a vortex.  My camera caught this slower one.  Sadly, the strongest image in my mind was of small planes hurtling to the earth after being shot down.  Needing to put a positive spin on that image, I like to think those leaves now represent spirits freed to soar where they choose.
A bugler waited on a balcony, preparing to play "The Last Post" in a duet with a second performer situated by the Cenotaph.
This gentleman stood for the entire ceremony, though several offered him a seat.
The fly-past always sends a ripple of awe over me.  
Quite a few people stood on the Woodward's Building's rooftop to watch the ceremony but one couple, appearing just a spec from where we sat (I used my 300 mm lens), stood behind their flag, on a balcony near the centre of the building, for the entire two hours. 
I cropped the photo, trying to make out the flag.  Some research this morning tells me it may be the White Ensign, flown on British Navy Ships and Shore Establishments.  It does seem, though, from looking at photos, that the union flag is in a different canton (quarter).  I'm thinking there is a story here, one that I would love to be privy to. 
As we left Victory Square, I caught one more flypast.  407 Maritime Patrol Squadron, 19 Wing RCAF Comox, Canadian Warbirds Poppy Flight, and Swiftbird Formation were all listed as part of the Commemorative Flypast.  I have tried to identify the planes in this photo but have to concede any help from readers would be appreciated.  In checking out the 19 Wing RCAF site, I came across a blog entry by Corrine Bainard, CAFM volunteer, and in the last sentence, a link to a scrapbook that details the letters to parents of Robert Clarke when he was reported missing.  I know most of you won't have the time to read that, but it left a deep impression on me this morning.  Here is one quote from the blog post: "Although not in chronological order, the military correspondence begins with a telegram notifying the family that their son is reported missing after a crash, and ends with the news that he has been transferred from Stalag III to Stalag IV. In between are letters from the other POW’s and their families and finally newspaper articles that fill in the gaps of the knowledge of what it was like to be a prisoner in probably the most notorious and well known German POW camp in WWII."
In the afternoon, after a rest, Bill and I were up and out once more to enjoy the cold (yes, it bears repeating) but sunny day.  Black Jack had shivered in her basket, but letting her run gave her just the warm-up time she needed.
A gentleman at the other end of the park was sending these radiant bubbles into the air.  
Children and parents gathered round to join in the fun.
I watched the colourful bubbles with at least as much pleasure as the children.  We are free to do these small but vital things that make our lives good because of some heavy sacrifices that will not be forgotten.  Taking time to remember and to record my responses to the soldiers' stories is my very small token of thanks.  If you have never visited ABC Wednesday, you will be in for a treat.  My thanks go to the fine volunteers who carry on Mrs. Nesbitt's remarkable idea so faithfully.  And, as always, my thanks go to you for stopping by.


  1. We do not often hear the soldier’s perspective that Shawn expressed so beautifully in song. This is such a meaningful post, Carol. I do not know how you managed to get such great shots in the crowds. I took several photos of a heavily attended ceremony locally but none of my pictures turned out. Something about the translucent bubbles caught my eye … our vulnerabilities hit home in many of these pictures.

  2. i watched (and listened to) about 40 minutes of the telecast from canada on remembrance day. not sure if it was this same one, but it was solemn and beautiful, too.

  3. Was it only a year ago that Bill was in the hospital? What a blessing that he looks so happy and healthy now!

  4. This is a powerful post, and I really appreciate the way it began with the reverence of ceremony and led to the simple, life-affirming beauty of bubbles in the air.

    SamuraiFrog, ABCW

  5. Hi Carol! I've been sitting here drinking my morning coffee and enjoying your recent posts. I love how you take great pleasure in photographing everything in your world. You had some amazing photos of birds in the water with various colors of reflective water. And I always love photos of cute little Black Jack. The one of her all snuggled up in the blue blanket during reading time was darling as are her exuberant running ones. But the rain, oh my! I love my dry prairie. This is a lovely Remembrance Day post. The one about your dad and his service was wonderfully touching. I can see you and your sister polishing his shoes and medals. Powerful song video you have posted on this post. Have a happy rest of the weekend. Oh, that rascal Jim nabbed you for the B&W challenge. When his hubby Ron nabbed me, I immediately thought of you because of the delight you take in photographing your world. But I didn't know you were on Facebook! Now I do, and I sent you a friend request! Have a good one!

  6. This is an incredibly powerful post. Like the comparison of color/b&w of the same shot; they both work.


  7. This is a most touching post to the Remembrance of fallen heroes and veterans, Again wonderful photography and I loved the pictures of The Mounties marching in their distinctive uniforms. My first husband's father was a Mountie until he joined the RCAF inWW2. He lost his life after being shot down over Holland, he was just 22 years of age, He never met his father as he was born 3 months after his death,
    . RIP Chris Zane Christianson Flight Sgt RCAF.

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