Tales of Animals in War - 2011 Edition

Archway of Remembrance

Each year, the Remembrance Clubhouse members meet to talk about remembrance. This year, they gathered in Ottawa to explore the Peace Tower in the Parliament Buildings. “It is an architectural landmark in Canada but it is also a memorial,” said Squeaker the pigeon, whose coop is in Ottawa.

“We learned today that a decision was made in 1917 to build a tower as a memorial to the Canadians who fought in the First World War,” Simone the cat said.

“There are lots of symbols of remembrance inside the Tower, but Squeaker made the coolest discovery,” Gandy the dog said. “He was flying through the doorway when we heard a loud squawk. We turned and he was pointing with his wings at a magnificent stone arch carved with images of animals!”

squeaker pointing to a stone arch

“Yes, it’s awesome!” Squeaker agreed. “It’s a memorial to animals who served in war, just like our relatives!” It has carved images of carrier pigeons and a reindeer, pack mule, horse and dog. The words THE HUMBLE BEASTS THAT SERVED AND DIED are inscribed below. There are also images of canaries in a cage and mice above the words THE TUNNELLERS’ FRIENDS.

“Animals served in wars in a variety of roles such as transporting supplies, delivering messages, helping the wounded or just being a soldier’s companion,” said Ellie the elephant.

In the First World War, soldiers spent a lot of time in trenches and underground. Canaries and mice are described as their “friends” because they could detect poison gas in tunnels. Also, soldiers could not use lanterns at night because the enemy would see them, so glow worms were used to read messages and maps because they give off a soft blue-green light.

“Thousands of animals contributed in times of war. We feel proud and thankful that they helped save lives. This arched memorial is a unique way to remember them all,” said Bonfire Jr. the horse.

Walking home from the Peace Tower, the animals paused along the Rideau Canal to have one of Ottawa’s famous beaver tail pastries. “Our paws and wings are tired after such a long day of discovery,” Win the bear reflected. “But we are excited to go back to Squeaker’s coop and design our own Archway of Remembrance!”

Why don’t you and your classmates design one too around your classroom door? What a great way to remember!

Remembrance Clubhouse Family Tree
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