Greetings fellow Veterans, as well as all other readers of this fine E Magazine.
This past week Canada and Canadian Veterans celebrated the battles of VIMY Ridge and Arras on 9 April 2017. 100 years since the original whistle blew and our men went over the top. This Link will give you a view of the Centenary Remembrances.
Meanwhile in Scotland I was proud to join with other members of our Ravenswood Banchory Legion branch, to attend the Church Service in honour of the Battle of Arras. My grandfather participated in that horrendous battle and fortunately he returned as many of his brothers in arms did not.
My Grandfather Pte George Cadger Rae Gordon Highlanders France 1917. (Kneeling with plate)
I was sad to see that Veterans Affairs Canada treated Veterans at the Vimy Remembrances with typical indifference. I myself experienced their poor service at the Juno beach 70th in 2014. Where WW2 and specifically Normandy Veterans were treated disrespectfully. This letter from a brother apprentice and Veteran. George Girling.
Well, a little disappointed after planning on coming to Vimy for 10 yrs.
Positive points: Made it! Unlimited supply of water. Hanh saw Princes, Justin and spouse .
Negative points: After 2 dry runs, still did not understand the signage for parking and shuttle. Nothing was mentioned about timing for shuttles. We left the hotel at 8am and spent an hour after arriving in Vimy trying to find parking area. We asked police, no English spoken. Finally said to hell with it and parked on the street of Vimy village. Walked about 2.5 ks, through 2 check points. Arrived about 11:30 Busses people were arriving for another hour. Not much happening and there were no speakers on grounds. The area around monument was fenced long ways back from it. Very hot day…20+ I think, very little shade. We went inside for hour and a half, a large feeding area with many tables/chairs. There was entertainment at noon, music etc but as mentioned, no speakers so unless you were very close, could not hear. Had to use toilet, very upset crowd. 16 toilets, Port–a-potys, for thousands. Line, from noon till after 5pm, at least 5-600 metres long. Took us over 30 minutes to access. Hanh and I eventually wandered to a limited shady area. Chatted with couple from Sask. They, along with us, were not impressed. Unless you were in front of barrier, nothing was visible. Except for the many gun salute, nothing was heard from the speakers.
My suggestions for the French/Canadian organizers: You cannot have too many toilets. Speakers are a must for those that cannot see. Bleachers would have been very good, all could see the programme. They had one large screen but could not see, unless in front row. They should have had a couple large screens so all could be viewed. We left at 5:30 prior to 6pm ending. We saw the VIPS arrive but left before they did. All in All, not well planned even though they had years to do so.
On to Ypres. It is indeed sad that the VAC personnel on duty at Vimy were more impressed with Royalty than with Canadian Veterans. On the other side of opinion I add this letter from Fellow Veterans Don Cappler, Bob Hicks who watched the ceremonies from the best seats in the house…..their recliners in their TV Room.
What a day for remembering and offering thanks and congratulations to the people of our nation CANADA. To all civilians involved in any way with the preparation, organization or participation of the VIMY tribute I tip my hat to each of you, for your stellar efforts and support, to those MILITARY members I salute your eloquence, determination and devotion to our fallen and the part you played in this wonderful ceremony…every now and then an event will instil an overwhelming feeling of pride bringing tears to one’s eyes the VIMY tribute did that today….9 April 2017….what a proud day for CANADA…….simply first class in all respects….congratulations and THANKS….
I have no doubt the CBC put on a great show, but Veterans who travelled at their own expense to VIMY were not able to see nor hear any of the events. Meanwhile 100 years on Canadian soldiers are still fighting somewhere in the world. Will we ever learn?
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I confess to be a dinosaur of sorts to many ideas in our new Military. Trans Gender military people are a NEW term to myself and I am sure to many older Veterans, as my daughter Stephanie is prone to telling me…… Get with the program Dad…
On that note, I leave you with a wee bit of Army Humour, Kiss Me Sarge’
Recruits got a shock when their Air Force basic-training instructor turned out to be an attractive female sergeant. Her assistant, however, was a burly, hawk-nosed veteran whose glare could freeze water. At the end of training, the attractive instructor congratulated the recruits and said that if there was anything she could do for us, just ask. From the back, a voice called out, “How about a kiss from the sergeant?” “Sure,” she replied, raising her hand to quell the laughter. “But I’ll let my
assistant take care of it!”
Stay Safe Folks
Nil Sine Labore