Celebrations (Or Lack Thereof)

Heroes Remember

Celebrations (Or Lack Thereof)

Interviewer: What do you remember at the end when they did sign a cease fire that they stopped fighting. You mentioned you were here back then, right? (Yes, yes I was here). Interviewer: Then you didn't go. Were there any types of celebration like there were at the end of the Second World War or was there...? Speaking of celebrations, you know when I came back from Korea, of course we sailed on American ships and went all around America ships and so we came back on American ships and we landed in Seattle. And Seattle, they had a big parade, they had bands and they had dancing girls and they had confetti coming down from the buildings and it was a great reception. However, when we got to Canada; like we went by train from Seattle to Vancouver, when we got to Vancouver all we received was a coffee from the Red Cross. And then, that was not very good we expected a little bit more than that from our own country. Then, got on the trains and proceeded back to the base that we took our basic training and that was in Winnipeg, where our headquarters were and when I got to Winnipeg, the same thing, we got another cup of coffee. So the reception was not all that good and we made it known that too, later on that you know, we were treated as second-class citizens and even one soldier experienced, as he got off the train in Vancouver that a woman just spit in his face and that was sort of an insult too and that was a tragic part of the event. However we did manage to convince the authorities because the bureaucrats at the time and the Veteran Affairs were saying well, Canada didn't go to war because there was no war. Canada did not declare war, Canada went to keep peace and that's what we did. It was several, several years later I think it was about 30 or 40 years later that finally Canada did say, yes Korea was a war, and we'll reward you and when that came about we received the Canadian Voluntary Service Medal. So now we have a Canadian Voluntary Service Medal and we wear it today and we wear it with our Korean medals and things like that. But that's the story behind Canada and the kind of attitude when we got back and when we came back we were not Veterans because we went to keep peace, we didn't go to war. However the peacekeeping event had all the characteristics of war; people died, we killed others and others killed us and that was the sad part about it. But we can't concentrate on the sad part, we gotta concentrate on the good part and we still live in one of the best countries in the world and I'm very proud to say that.

Mr. Knockwood explains the different receptions he received in the United States and Canada after returning from Korea.

Noel Knockwood

Mr. Knockwood was born in the Indian Brook First Nations in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, July 17, 1932. He received his early education at the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School. He joined the Canadian Army in 1951 and at the suggestion of his older brother, a Second World War Veteran, signed up for the artillery. He spent six years in the service serving in Canada, the United States, Japan and Korea. He received his basic training in Shilo, Manitoba. During this training he received courses on atomic, biological and chemical warfare. He was just 18 years old when he went overseas to fight in Korea and was there for 413 days. After returning from Korea, Mr. Knockwood taught small arms artillery and became a drill Sergeant. After leaving the military, Mr. Knockwood furthered his education graduating with a major in Sociology from St. Mary’s University. He went on to teach at Dalhousie University and St. Mary’s University and was a guest lecturer at several other universities in the Maritimes. He received the National Aboriginal Achievement Reward for Heritage and Spirituality in 2002. At the time of this interview Mr. Knockwood was the Sergeant at Arms for the province of Nova Scotia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Noel Knockwood
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
United States
1st Field Regiment

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