Saturday, November 14, 2009

Catching Up

A busy week, with Remembrance Day in the middle of it and it felt as if every tomorrow should have been Sunday. But it wasn't... Things have happened since Wednesday, - it has been a busy week. Late to be reporting on Remembrance Day, but important to me to to record it here, so please be patient.

It was a beautiful calm sunny day. Family who could came to help us remember our own dear ones who were taken in battle, and all of the others from this community whose names grace the Cenotaph. Others sent messages.

Here is Charles with another old Navy Vet, as he prepares to read the names of the Fallen. As he has done for many, many years. While I was shopping today someone remarked how much his participation is appreciated, and what a fine, commanding voice he had. At home, too, I commented!

The parade marches on, led by the RCMP in their Scarlet Dress uniforms, the Colour Party, the Piper, followed by the Veterans, the members of the Legion, the Service organizations and the children, - the cubs and scouts and guides and brownies.

The Two Minutes of Silence.

The laying of wreaths.

It is a solemn and reverent ceremony, one which remembers with sadness and gratitude, and in no way glorifies or romances the deadly adventures of War. Veterans are heartened by the people of the small towns of Canada who remember those who made it possible for them to live their tomorrows.

The parade marches off to gather at the Legion Hall with those who attended the ceremony - Hot Buttered Rum, Chili, Stew and Buns, singing old songs, laughing at old stories and a few reminiscences, although not as many as in the early years.

At home we talk with mixed emotions, listening to Charles' account of some of those far off days when life was tenuous for so many, and survival was fifty per cent luck and fifty per cent skill and experience, combined with a marvelous trust and dependence upon those who were as close as brothers to you in the battle.

It is one day of Remembrance, and so soon, after a night's sleep, we waken to the realities of the present. But still, there lingers the words, -

"To you with failing hands we throw the Torch, be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow in Flanders Fields".

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sky Watch Friday

Similkameen Skies - pictures from the past.

Look to wonderful world wide skies by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ABC Wednesday

Q is for Quartermaster

Now we've all heard of the Quartermaster - the man who has the goods! In the Store, in the Store.....

Who hasn't sung this song around a fire at night, searching out the Quartermaster's Store for more wild and crazy objects to be found there, and to sing about.

Here is Burns Ernst playing this old campfire favourite, In The Quartermaster's Store.

And here are some appropriate words to sing along.....

There are mice, mice, mice running through the rice
At the store. At the store.
There are mice, mice, mice running through the rice
At the Quartermaster’s Store.

Mine eyes are dim, I cannot see.
I have not brought my specks with me.
I have not brought my specks with me. (Chorus)

There are rats, rats, rats as big as alley cats
At the store. At the store.
There are rats, rats, rats as big as alley cats
At the Quartermster’s Store. long as garden rakes Goats….eating all the oats
Beans…as big as submarines Owls…. Shredding paper towels
Gravy…enough to float the navy Apes…..eating all the grapes
Cakes…that give us stomach aches Roaches..sleeping in the coaches
Eggs….with scaly chicken legs Flies…...swarming ‘round the pies
Butter...running in the gutter Fishes….washing all the dishes
Lard….they sell it by the yard
Moths… eating through the cloths
Bread...with great big lumps like lead
Foxes….stuffed in little boxes Cheese.that makes you want to sneeze Scouts…eating brussel sprouts
Soot….they grow it by the foot Leaders..slapping at the skeeters

There’s no more, more, more We’re closing up the store.
Up the store. (2X)
There’s no more, more, more We’re closing up the store
Up the Quartermaster’s Store.

Another timely bit of information about the Quartermaster's stores refers to the absolute necessity of the Quartermaster in providing for the military, wherever they might be.

Wikipedia tells of the presence of the U.S. Quartermaster's Corp on the beaches of Normandy.

"No one seems ever to think a soldier in QM ever gets to smell any gunpowder, dig any foxholes, get into any fighting, go without food, mail and the like. Our QM outfit hit the beach on D-day right when the heat was on, and more outfits are hitting the beaches every day--to unload and load rations, ammunition, and all other equipment and supplies. Opening and running dumps under combat conditions is a tough job. We sleep in foxholes, wash and shave in helmets, dig slit trenches, eat in the open as do other Army outfits. We also have bazooka men, machine-gun men and operate twenty-four hours a day--about fifty percent of that time in the rain and mud."

Private First Class, James P. Hatchell,
(in a letter to the Stars and Stripes Newspaper, August 10, 1944)

Almost everything a soldier wore, carried or ate on D-Day was supplied by the Quartermaster Corps

Quartermaster units and personnel were in the English Channel and on the beaches, Omaha and Utah, when the Allies landed on June 6. QM railhead, service, and truck companies saw continuous operation in the assault at Normandy, in the breakout at St. Lo, and the rapid pursuit across France in the summer of '44. They had some unforgettable experiences.

The 407th Airborne QM Company, for instance, went into Normandy on D-Day in two echelons, the first in gliders and the rest by ship. The glider-borne contingent landed at 2115 hours on June 6th and set up a temporary bivouac on the outskirts of Blosville, a short distance from Ste. Mere Eglise.

Tech 4 Fred Gilbert's unit, the 3891st QM Truck Company, landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and immediately began hauling rations, ammo, and Infantrymen. "In other words," he wrote, they considered themselves "a part of the mobile infantry."

The British, Canadian and Australian Quartermasters were with their Regiments also, supporting and supplying and parachuting behind enemy lines with supplies.

On Remembrance Day we honour those amongst them who gave their lives and made the Quintessential sacrifice.

For more interesting facts about the letter Q go here to Mrs. Nesbitt's inspiring meme.