A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Remembrance Day in Brome Lake
Read the full story here.

Remembrance day in Lac Brome. At 11 o'clock on November 11th we will stop to remember the brave Canadian soldiers of the past and say prayers for the present-day and future soldiers who sacrifice so much so that we may enjoy freedom. Please show your support by attending the Knowlton Remembrance Day Ceremony in Lac Brome in front of the Knowlton Academy on Victoria Street.

Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a silent moment of remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace. We honour those who fought for Canada in the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as those who have served since then. More than 1,500,000 Canadians have served our country in this way, and more than 100,000 have died. They gave their lives and their futures so that we may live in peace.

Looking back at the ceremony held in Knowlton, we can can appreciate the respect that is shown by our community towards the courageous men and women who have help shape this great country. These pictures and thoughts are from 2007:

The flags were saluted as we gathered at the memorial to remember our soldiers.The Knowlton band played, prayers were read as heads were bowed, and tears welled in our eyes as the lone trumpet's piercing notes helped pay tribute to the brave men and women of Brome County who have given so much in the service of their country.

It was a lovely ceremony and we were fortunate that the weather co-operated as a huge crowd converged on the greens of Knowlton Academy around 10 am. Poppies were pinned to every lapel and the atmosphere was austere.

The Mayor of Knowlton was on hand as were many local family members and representatives from various organizations came forward to lay wreaths of respect. Everyone sang hymns and prayed together and it seemed that these turbulent times made such a ceremony even more vital. Seeing the casualties in current struggles around the world makes more of realize the sacrifices that were made by other generations.

Our finest gathered to share and to remember the trials and tribulations of the past.Police closed off Victoria Street near Knowlton Academy as hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects and lay wreaths for those who can never be forgotten. Every year at Remembrance Day Ceremonies in Canada there are fewer and fewer Veterans of the great wars of the world but the crowds who gather seem to be getting larger all the time.

Living in Quebec, it was surprising to see such a crowd gather in Lac Brome and it surely made everyone there proud in their solidarity in showing their thanks. Most newspapers of major cities across Canada featured reports and historical coverage of Canadians at war yet in Quebec many newspapers almost go out of their way to ignore the remembrance of our heroes! It may not be surprising but it still is disrespectful and so it was especially nice to see the hundreds who came out to bow their heads.

With more Canadians in harms way in Afghanistan it is good to see more young people coming to such memorials. World War 1 and 2 do not register in the consciousness of many young people so the sight of Girl Guides leaving white paper swans at the cenotaph was a poignant reminder of how war continues to affect us.

Those who have been to the war hang their heads in a way many of us can never understand.The Veterans of Brome County proudly displayed their medals and stood at attention as the music lifted into the bare trees and a moment of silence left us all in our thoughts… thoughts for the hope for peace and thanks to all of the men and women of the Canadian Forces who continue to do the dangerous job most of us would be afraid to even contemplate.

Throughout the years many people from the Brome County area have enlisted into the Canadian Armed Forces to fulfill their dreams and meet their destiny. Seeing the stoic faces and close families at the Remembrance Day ceremony made us proud to be a part of such a group. Not all of us are originally from the area but all of us have someone in our family who has known the war in one way or another. This makes us all brothers and sisters in arms and even though many people in the crowd didn't know the person standing next to them...then, as the prayers were read and a chorus of voices whispered "Amen" together it showed that we are all part of a family bigger than we can imagine.

Knowlton Academy was the place for the Lions Club Remembrance Day Brunch.Around noon the crowd slowly dissipated and amongst the handshakes, hugs and back-patting there was the feeling of appreciation for the road we have all traveled up until now and the hope for the chance to see one another again…may God allow.

On Sunday, the day after the memorial, the Legion held a brunch at the Knowlton Academy. The basement was full for the event as people came to sit with a hot breakfast cooked up by the local Scouting movement. The hall where we ate in Knowlton Academy was decorated with large red paper poppies made by the children of the school and many drawings and bright paintings expressing their desire for peace, love and understanding.

The proud faces who have carried us on their strong shouldersBeing surrounded by the arts and crafts of the kids taped to the walls while having Veterans of the wars gather to share a meal and drink a cup of tea among friends was quite moving.

The rain from the night before left pools of water like a shallow moat around the stone monuments where just the day before we had gathered en masse to bear witness to the courage of our brave heroes. As we left the basement after our brunch and walked towards the cenotaph to bow our heads one last time in remembrance we noticed that one of the small paper birds that had been placed during the ceremony by the girl guides had fallen off its fragile home-made cross and was now floating in the rain water...

Lest we forget our modern day herosOur Canadian Forces continue to do battle in combat situations around the world. While we remember the sacrifices of the past we should also be aware of the young men and women who are currently serving our country and helping to protect each and every one of us.

Please leave your comments or messages at the official Canadian Forces message board for our brave soldiers.


Anonymous Jean Claude Blanche said...

I am French Canadian.
This statement is not based on language it’s based on fact: my father was born in Paris and lived his early life in France. My mother is from Montreal so I am actually French and Canadian. I was raised with stories of both wars. I remember because I was given those stories and they didn’t come from someone I didn’t know. They came from my family. We are all part of those stories.
I was raised with stories of WW1 and WW2 where my grandfather was a common soldier in the first one in the French army. I remember stories of German and French men, cannon fodder on both sides in the trenches, afraid of the whistle (that was the tool of the sergeant to tell the men to get out of the trenches and run towards the enemy trenches and to take it from them).
It’s one of the reasons it was called the war of trenches.
They were there for freedom and the Allied forces won that freedom in WW1 with too many lives lost. They forgot. Yes they forgot what happened and on came WW2.
My grandfather was again asked to fight for his country. My great uncle and he fought again but France was defeated early. Both of them took great risks during those years as being part of the French Resistance. They didn’t have great roles in the Resistance. Not like in the movies. The Resistance shown in those is something like giving Allied forces some secret location to some unknown weapon or something dire. No...They didn’t do something as spectacular as kill German officers or be killed for some spies of the Americans so they can become the heroes at the end of the movie. That’s not life.
My great uncle came back from Algeria and suffered great illnesses during those years. It took him 2 years to come back home after France was defeated. There were no planes, no method of transport like today. He came back with a broken health. Not being able to eat properly for so long. He never fully recovered. He worked upon his return in supplying the families in France with something as simple as butter, bread, water. He was working on getting supplies to eat.
My grandfather was sent to a work camp and was able to supply my great uncle some additional food at the risk of his life. These weren’t the death camps so many Polish, Jews Russian and others were murdered in. These were camps where manual labor was being given to slaves...the defeated...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 9:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Jean Claude Blanche said...

Germans early in the war were given clear instructions to be polite to the French people. You see, the madness was that if the Germans were seen as liberators of the current government instead of tyrants, the other countries might fall more easily if they were to see that French people were happy with the new regime.
Later German forces took the idea of work camp to another level of madness. They took a lot of idea that way.
It was Americans that liberated the small French village my father grew up in. Of course, the Canadian had a major role in having the Americans come to shore. But it came to chance that the Americans came first to that village. No one understood them as they only spoke English. But they were heroes.
All of them were. They gave hope and freedom wherever they came.
My father grew up in a war that was insane. He was in school where bombs were constantly dropping on him. You see, Allied and Central forces were putting ammunitions in the basement of those schools. The Germans were willing to sacrifice those children and were putting an incredible strain in the minds of the bomber planes. Till his death, he couldn’t see fireworks. He was reliving the whistling of bombs and the detonation. For me, fireworks are sad. I saw my father wince in pain every time.
Remember November 11th 1945. Not because you are obligated to do so.
I personally remember it because without it, I wouldn’t be French Canadian.
Actually, chances are I wouldn’t be here at all.
I remember, I wear the poppy on November 11th but I must assure you it is a part of everything I am and I wear it in my mind every day of my life, by honoring the life of my grandfather , my great uncle and my father.
You should be wearing it because you are the legacy of those heroes. They made it possible for me to exist, for you to live in this great country of freedom.
You should be wearing it because your great grandfathers, your grandfathers and possibly, your fathers were or knew someone during that time and lest we forget like we did with the first WW1, we might have to relive the horrors, the madness all over again.
How many times must we forget to learn? Live the moment. Remember the past. Do not make the mistake to relive the past. Plan the future and remember.
Wear the poppy in honor of those who died so you could live. That is a very small obligation in return for so much. It is your choice however and freedom paid with so many lives gives you that choice.
Remember and live the future accordingly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 9:03:00 AM  
Blogger C Milton said...

Always proud to wear a poppy leading up to Remembrance Day. I salute those who have fought for our freedom. Today we Remember

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 5:23:00 AM  

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