It’s Armistice- Remembrance Day. There are few teachers more humble than I during this Holiday. My uncle and namesake, lies buried in Italy, killed at age 20. My father(1917-1983) was a four year veteran of the Europe campaign. (For another post ) We should also remind ourselves that war has many faces and textures. While we honour memories of Canadians who sacrificed their lives, or their youth, in the cause to suppress tyranny, war is found in our nation’s collective persona in other ways too. It brings out our values, prejudices and political character. History and libraries and archives preserve these records so others may learn from the past. Librarians archive those items that others perceive as old junk or protect what some people wish would simply be forgotten. Isn’t it wonderful that things aren’t just thrown out into the dumpster because they are old? Isn’t it special that someone cares for our collective soul enough to make it a life work to curate our nations past. Sometimes ugly. Sometimes heroic. Libraries and their librarians or archivist serve our needs when our consumerism mania cherishes only the new. Be thankful we had courageous photojournalist scrambling in the mud, next to our soldiers, documenting the unequivocal truth of war.
Support your local and national libraries. Support your local veterans. Support your Red Cross. Learn about the past because it isn’t just a human story, it’s an inoculation against future foolishness- even if only just one- you.
Lest we forget. Nov. 11th.
(ALA) For Memorial Day, a World War I poster from our collection of world war posters: “Knowledge Wins…Public Library Books are Free”. This is one of several posters commissioned by the American Library Association. This particular poster was designed by Daniel Stevens, an American illustrator originally from Philadelphia, who was best known for his depiction of Western Americana scenes. During WWI, ALA created the War Service Committee, which established more than 30 libraries at training facilities and other encampments for soldiers.
Equipment on the Beach at Normandy. The Normandy campaign became a brutal battle of attrition. The Allies tried to push inland. The Germans, holding the high ground, tried to throw them back into the sea. Both sides suffered terrible casualties. Progress was frustratingly slow, and battles often ended in stalemates.(George Metcalf Archival Collection)
Canadian Troops in Campochiaro. Under sniper fire, personnel of the Carleton and York Regiment advance up the steep main street of the mountain village of Campochiaro, Italy, 21 October 1943.
(Library and Archives Canada, )
British Columbia, 1940. Canadians enlisted by the thousands when Canada declared war on Germany on 10 September 1939. The Canadian military grew to over 60,000 members in less than one month and individual regiments had little difficulty recruiting. Virtually each one represented a new family separated by war.(Library and Archives Canada)
“Knowledge Wins–American Library Association Advocacy during World War I.” – Pictures & Conversations. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013.
“Remembrance Day Toolkit.” Canadian War Museum – Remembrance Day Toolkit. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. .