Remembrance

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Medium: Video
Owner: Veterans Affairs Canada and Testaments of Honour
Duration: 5:47
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Subjects – in order of appearance:

  • Jacques Raymond
  • Edgar Doiron
  • Normand Silver
  • Hermel Pelletier
  • Herman Croteau
  • René Lanouette
  • Rufin Gionet

Transcript

I find it sad that television hardly talks about Remembrance Day… I remember that in the past, on Remembrance Day, the Nouvelliste or the newspapers would have a beautiful poppy on the front page, and the war… Today, if we asked a journalist to meet with us, nothing would happen. They go to the cenotaph and they take a photograph of the cenotaph and that's all.

We had to go outside Canada to get that kind of welcome. Here, whether you're in Valleyfield or elsewhere, there aren't too many people who attend the November 11 ceremonies.

If you go to a country like Holland, the kids learn all about how their country was liberated and little children can tell you more than a whole lot of people here.

They say virtually nothing. They hardly ask the veterans to turn up. Today, there are fewer and fewer but, all the same, it's not right. Particularly in Quebec, we are the forgotten ones. We walk around with them, and the children ask us where we got the medals. You know, there's no history in Quebec. We know that it's not a nation of warriors. .

Montreal, the city of Montreal, they never gave much thought to veterans.

Particularly when you look elsewhere, in the Western Provinces and in New Brunswick, I saw people there and I visited there. They have stronger feelings there for veterans than in Quebec. In Quebec, we are isolated. They hardly talk about us.

Most of them don't know very much. They're not informed. This happened during the war, there were politicians who were against it. They didn't understand that we had to do something. The Germans came, as you surely know, came as far as Gaspé with their submarines. They sent spies. They sank ships.

What would we be today if we had let them do it? Young people realize it when we tell them.

We live in the best country in the world. Young children should appreciate that. But, if we're free, why is that? Because in two wars, the first world war too, people defended their homeland so that their grandchildren could be free to go to school and learn today rather than fight and burn the flag from here, and a flag from there, and… get along.

The hardest time for me is the November 11th parade. When the bugles start, it's…!

It's not for me. It's for the others who stayed behind. Because if it was only myself, I wouldn't go. But I go every year. It's an obligation. It's difficult because when they fire the guns, followed by the minute of silence, it all comes back. It all goes so fast: the more you do, the more there are. One time, a counselor who came here, someone who was new at working with Canadian veterans, she said, "I don't understand it. I went to the monument. There were big men, six feet tall, big guys, bawling like children," she says. "I just don't understand it." You didn't live through it. For us, we were reminded, and that's why. It's hard, you can't deny that, but we go all the same. I've gone when its snowed, its hailed, its drizzled, but there was never an Eleventh that I missed. There's even one here, during the week, and I go anyway. I don't know anybody, but I go anyway …in memory of those who lost their lives…

Why us?" I have no idea … I tell myself all the time, one year after another, it's going to pass, but it's been sixty years and it's still the same. And, its coming. We're going to have to go through it another time.

Ah, November 11 … the big day for me is May 5. When they told us the war was over. The 11th, well, of course, that's the big day, for all soldiers, but for me, my big day was May 5. That's when I was told the war had ended.

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