Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day 2009

Three moments in Canadian history:

The Landing of the First Canadian Division at St. Nazaire, 1915 after Edgar Bundy, A.R.A

Jack McIntosh recalls the story behind this nose art. "We had flown six operations before the crew decided it was time to give our Halifax a name and some type of nose art painting. I was asked to pick a name and selected my home city in Alberta, Medicine Hat. The nose artist was one of our ground crew and he picked the painting of Walt Disney's 'Goofy' dropping bombs. The thinking was that each time the aircraft flew, the enemy was receiving more 'medicine' from the 'hat'. The painting first flew on our ninth operation on 21 June 1943. Over the next five months, I completed 23 operations in 'Medicine Hat' and although we had a few close calls, we never received another hit or injury to the crew. The name and nose art made it feel she was 'our' aircraft and would always bring us home."


by 8th Argyll

There you are,
in a field of innocuous
dress scarlet tops
that conceal a deadly
steel clothed in velvet.
And there she is, the poet,
dress ablaze in poppies,
scarlet petals curling
round a darkened head
of deadly harvest.
One day soon
the Afghan moon will
glow, and you will be there,
gazing at self-same heads
that ebb and flow
in silvered glow
of mountain night;
a trick of light,
so poetic
swaying in the
balmy breeze;
and you may think
of Wordsworth’s
Lakeland view.
What was it now?
‘Ten thousand saw I
At a glance’.
But they were gold,
what you see is
moon-blanched red,
gaunt faces of the
needled –dead.
But then again,
you may think
upon the mangled
waste of Somme,
where poppy-red,
life-blood hue,
a match for tunics next to you,
was born the everlasting
symbol of the dead.
And you may think,
as poets think,
of things that others
take as read.

March 09

With no vividly realized res publica of their own to talk about, they take refuge in silence, unable to formulate their loyalties, confused over their deepest aspirations. Yet they are surcharged with a sense of duty and when the great occasion of war comes, their efforts seem to know no limit. They must surely have an intuitive faith in the unexpressed essence of their traditions for few of them have a formulated creed.
-Arthur Lower, 1946

No comments: