This morning I fixed a coffee, turned on the fireplace and I sat down to write a blog article. I wanted to write about the month I had just spent in Victoria. I kept my camera busy during that time and had many thoughts to organize.
But I was sidetracked by Remembrance Day stories coming from the TV about our war veterans. I decided to go for a walk to rethink my article.
Every year I am struck by the stories of our veteran and their families. Many did not come home. Those that did were affected in so many ways. Families were left to pick up the pieces and remember.
Two of my uncles experienced active duty. Bill an infantryman was gassed in WWI. George sailed on HMCS Fennel, a convoy support ship in the North Atlantic during WWII. Their experiences I’m sure were horrendous. Yet I never heard them speak about them. They carried on with life each living to a ripe old age.
I knew little of Bill’s life before he married my aunt. A linotype operator with Victoria’a Colonist newspaper he just loved to be with family. But I came to know George fairly well. He was born in northern Saskatchewan at Cumberland House, a Hudson’s Bay trading post. An experienced woodsman, he knew the ways of the woods. He put this knowledge to great use as a wildlife cinematographer and built a successful film business called Cotter’s Wildlife Productions.
As I think of my uncles and the countless others who have experienced the horrors of war I celebrate their contributions to the building of the civil society we have here in Canada. We are so lucky.
The month I spent in Victoria resulted in many interesting photographs. Some I have shared on Facebook. A few of those will appear on my website in the near future. I had such a good time being out and about with my camera. But the fact remains that without the sacrifices of our soldiers, veterans and their families our collective story could be quite different.
I captured the following images on Anzac Day, April 25, 2009 in Caloundra, Queensland, Australia. It is an important annual event and represents the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during WWI. Our stories are so similar to theirs.