Lest we forget

P9824 Kitchener Cenotaph at City Hall, 1954 (KPL Collection)

P9824 Kitchener Cenotaph at City Hall, 1954 (KPL Collection)

Remembrance Day is a quiet day of reflection, memory and gratitude for the many men and women who fought and defended our rights and freedoms in conflicts around the world.  We will gather at cenotaphs, ceremonies, homes and workplaces to mark a moment of silence during which we will remember those who answered the call of duty to serve Canada.  As Winston Churchill once said, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”.

The Kitchener Cenotaph, pictured above, designed by Kitchener architect, William H.E. Schmalz, was dedicated on 24 May 1929. It originally sat on a small traffic island on Frederick Street, near King Street. It was later moved to City Hall in 1949 and then to the corner of Frederick and Duke Streets, where it sits today, with the development of Market Square. It rededicated by Queen Elizabeth during a royal visit in 1973.

Today, I am remembering my great-uncle, James McPhee of Abbotsford, BC, who served in the Second World War as a Royal Air Force navigator, a war correspondent and later as a Canadian Armed Forces peacekeeper in the Suez. I will remember Captain Brinley Frederick Roberts Thomas, of Dinas Powys, Wales, husband of my grandfather’s cousin, who risked his life in both world wars to ensure that supplies, personnel and munitions reached Allied troops as a member of the British merchant marine.  And, I will remember David Harding, my first cousin once removed, who served with the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan and, thankfully, returned home safely.

Who will you remember today?