Many of the recipients of today have said that they hope there are no more members joining the Congressional Medal of Honor Society,. This of course is one of the most prestigious of clubs in the US. Its membership is limited to only those who have been awarded the nation's highest medal for bravery... the Medal of Honor.
To get one, except in rare cases, you have to have shown your worth in the very face of the enemy. And to have an enemy you have to have a war. And there-in is the source of the title above. These heroes do not want to see anymore wars, and thus no more members.
The Blue, Silver and Gold Star Families of the US of which I hope you have read much in the last several blogs, tell of those families who have lost a member, or even sadder, more than one member whilst in the service of their country.
Today's blog will tell you about the Canadian equivalent to the American families, but more narrow in scope... to the Memorial Cross Mothers, sometimes called the Silver Cross Mothers, and later the National Silver Cross Mother for the entire country.
Yet again a club where none of the members wishes to have an expanded membership.
It was back in 1915 when the National Council of Women (NCW) started making their views known about the recognition due the mothers who lost their sons in battle for their homeland. Their thoughts were that instead of parading around in dreary black garments, woman should be allowed to wear a royal purple blue arm band with a suitable devise attached, that told all of their losses. (Ironic that a half century later my own mother, as the then current president of NCW was making presentations to PM Trudeau (the first) for the inclusion of women into the ranks of the RCMP as police officers instead of limited their functions to clerical or other non Peace Officer functions.)
Unlike Trudeau, Borden stalled but in the Fall of 1916 things changed, perhaps with the horrible news of the sinking of the Lusitania. Letters to the editor of Toronto papers, and clippings of same sent to Borden later from popular novelist WA Fraser got federal attention to the cause. He called for the making of a medal, to be called the Silver Cross and that it should... "pay a beautiful and deserved tribute to the mothers of slain Canadian soldiers."
Over the years there have been several changes regarding who in the family could receive a memorial Cross, how many could come to the family, and prerequisites needed even before a medal was, and is awarded.
2018 marks the 82nd year of this program where a mother had been appointed annually in all but just a few years since 1936. Above we see the first woman so awarded. The job of selection falls to the Royal Canadian Legion each year.
In 1936, Winnipeg's Charlotte Susan Wood, shown above, became the first National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. That year she traveled to England to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey. (The unknown there is also a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross and the Medal of Honor.)
Mrs Wood lost two sons in battle, one at Mons Belgium August 1914 and another at Vimy in May 1917.
Partly Antigonish Nova Scotia schooled and RMC graduated, Nichola Goddard joined the Canadian Forces and was soon in Afghanistan. As one of those in combat roles Goddard of the PPCLI held the rank of Captain and was acting as a Forward Observation Officer while commanding a mission to capture 15 alleged Taliban in mid June 2006.
Enroute, her job had her often standing in her vehicle, and half exposed to potential enemy at any time. The team got ambushed, leading to a day long battle. When her vehicle was hit by two rocket propelled grenades, Capt Goddard and an Afghan National Army soldier were killed. But so were about 40 of the enemy and another 20 captured by her team.
Captain Goddard was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Her husband was later awarded the Memorial Silver Cross. probably the first such award, as the Captain, shown above, was the first certified combat related death of a woman in our history.
A google search of The Captain's name will bring up considerable information about this brave woman. Hits will show of many tributes and memorials across the country to her service and sacrifice.
By going to... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrkgV5bl7kQ
you can listen to a wonderful song about heroes that was written and performed by the group... The Trews, from Antigonish NS. The song was written in honour of Captain Goddard. Please have a listen, and carefully to the words, and then pass it along to others.
And here is another site I want you to check out...
I've told you about this site in the past. It is the web site that the good folks of Zorra Ontario created a few years back as a result of an original attending of the new grave marker unveiling in California in 2010 for Benjamin F Youngs, noted repeatedly on this site. He was from Zorra and was awarded the MOH for actions in the Civil War. I did much of the background work for the California event.
At this site the reasons for creating the site are shown at the right on the home page. The fourth item down is a song written and performed by Jack London and called the Highway of Heroes. Again please listen closely to the words. This song was also inspired by the heroism of Captain Goddard. Please also pass this on to others..
Finally, before signing off, I note that there are only 3 more days in February, the month set aside across North America to honour Black History.
I've yet to see any Canadian print coverage this month that mentions the name of Joseph Noil, who is often mentioned in past blogs here. Only a few William Hall mentions have been found. Noil was a MOH recipient and Hall was a VC recipient. Both men were from Nova Scotia and both were of course men of colour.
While being awarded the highest medals for bravery in Canada and the US, I am left with he feeling that these black heroes are nor worthy of mention during the very month dedicated to the cause.
I find this VERY disheartening of our print media across the country. Not sure if the other media outlets are in the same kettle.
The Black community I trust will take note of this lack of support for their cause. .
Back next week,