Wednesday, July 01, 2009

July 1st, Commemoration Day

"It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault failed of success because dead men can advance no further."

While in the rest of Canada July 1st is the national holiday, here in Newfoundland & Labrador it is also, and for me foremost, Commemoration Day. This is a day of remembrance for those souls who fought and died at Beaumont Hamel during the Battle of The Somme on July 1st 1916, in which the Newfoundland Regiment sustained over 85% casualties, killed or wounded. 780 men started the advance and only 68 answered the roll the following day.

The symbol of Commemoration Day (also referred to as Memorial Day) is the Forget-me-not, a small blue flower that seems to be able to grow in the harshest of conditions.

For more information check out:

Yours in Service,

The General


Keir said...

I couldn't agree more. As a child I went to the War Memorial on Duckworth Street every first of July. There were still veterans of the Somme at the memorial ceremonies there in the 1970s.

The civic authorities brought in the Canada Day fireworks in later years and gradually the solemn, deathly quiet rituals of remembrance were replced by those of usually mediocre firework displays, more often than not damped by the everpresent low clouds and fogbanks in the east end of St. John's this time of year during the capelin weather.

Later, to rub it in, the Memorial Stadium, which our fathers built in honour of the veterans, was converted into a shopping mall.

I've been over to Beaumont Hamel twice. I know what I'm remembering today.

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