Last weekend I enjoyed a vacation day, if you will, from these blogs, almost 450 strong, and needing the break. Considerable time was spent preparing for two recent projects, and quite frankly, with health issues, I was exhausted.
The week previous saw me back in the Currie Room at the armoury for the third year in a row. This being the very room of my earlier promotion.
I was there probably as the most junior member, for my third year running, of the annual conference of the Western Front Asossiation's Pacific Coast Branch. The WFA's international organization has some 6000 members across the world. These are historians, archivists, academics, authors, researchers , the military, civilians and others with deep understanding of the WW1 Western Front and a passion for remembering the terrible costs at the front... and even back home in that horrendous war.
The Pacific Coast branch, now numbering about 100 strong, and in its 19th year, have members coming to these events from several Canadian provinces and even across the United States. Over the past several years the conference has expanded so much that our leaders are now having to consider the thought that eventually larger forums may well be needed to better accommodate our needs.
I encourage you to have a look at the website...
This year was very special for me as I was allowed to address some 80 attendees during the event. And I have to say I think the only folks involved who probably had less knowledge than I on the Great War were probably the caterers, who by the way, did a fabulous job over the three day event.
The focus of my research for years, as you know, has been on the Medal of Honor and Canada's part in that very im portant story. Since there is only one WWl Western Front connection to this research, I thought I would take a slightly different approach in my talk.
The conference being held during March, the very month celebrated across the United States as Womens History Month, this would be my topic... sort of. I would share the information from several recent blogs about womens history, about the military and about three women who's stories must be told over and over and over again.
Each received very high medals during the Great War, and each touched on both Canada and the United States. You hopefully will recall the stories of Beatrice MacDonald and Lenah Higbee. They, and a third, who's story has yet to appear in this space, were the women I spoke of at the conference.
I am proudly wearing the recently awarded Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers and my Canadian Forces long service medal above the Military Police crest on my jacket. (credits for above 3 WFA Pac Branch photos belong to local member Alan MacLeod)
Moving along to another topic, Just a few days back our new Governor General paid her first visit to Victoria. This of course does not include her flights overhead... actually WAY OVERHEAD as an astronaut not that long ago.
Seventeen of the 45 recipients were women. While gender can not be a factor in the awarding of these medals, it is hopeful that more and more women will have the amazing opportunity to stand on this stage in the years to come.
and I again would encourage you to visit this link also, and read about these Canadians. There you can read about our local hero Merna Forster shown here and several times in this space over the past few years. Her work to bring the government into waking up about putting images or famous Canadian women back on the paper currency of this country, is well know. A herculean task that began in Merna's home.
She makes us all proud, and especially so since she is one of the active participants in our own local Victoria Genealogical Society, that as you know also does great work in the metro area, and indeed around the world with its great volunteers.
Merna wears her new medal... the Meritorious Service Decoration, Civilian Division, in the above picture.
Moving along, I had planned on bringing some information about the historic importance of today in our calendar. It is of course March 25th..the very day when so may years ago the first ever Medal of Honor was presented in the history of the United States.
But the blog is getting too long!
So please return next Sunday for that BELATED story.
See you then,