One of these was the officially opening of a 10 week display of a very rare document. Dating back to 1215 and one of only 4 known to exist, this copy of the Magana Carta is being presented to the American people in the display to help celebrate and remember the important milestone of democracy of 800 years earlier when 40 barons advocated to their King John of England for the right to be ruled by law, and no longer by the decisions of the reigning monarch. An ititial agreement was soon voided and the country went to war over the matter, with the people being finally guaranteed these rights.
The Royal Princess, husband and others also travelled a few miles away to the famous Arlington National Cemetery shown in the above map. At the tomb of the Unknown soldiers, first erected for the 1921 soldier of France, unveiled by dignitaries which included those from England,Canada and around the world, the Princess and others watched the changing of the guard at the tomb. This is located in the area depicted by the letter "A" on the map above, and as seen in the air photo also above.
At Arlington's Visitor's Center, indicated on the above map with a "B", the Princess unveiled the plaque for the Americans who were awarded the Victoria Cross for their bravery during the Great War. The first of course being the Unknown Soldier who died in France. Then the plaque lists the names of the other four recipients. While each was American born, one moved to Canada as a child, one came a few years into his teens, and the other two came to Canada to participate in the war effort before the United States joined that effort. (on the map I have also indicated where the dreadfull attack occured at the Pentagon... at item "C above.")
Tens of thousands of Americans came to Canada to join are war efforts in both world wars,and some actually went on to earn the US's highest medal for bravery, the Medal of Honor. Those being so awarded, first entered the war with Canada and later returned to US services before earning their MOH's.
It has apparently yet to be mentioned in any Canadian press that I can find yet. A shame if ever their was one as this American unveiling is very much also a Canadian story of heroism. And the reason you need to keep coming back to this space to learn about these heroes.
First listed on the plaque, and below the Unknow Soldier is Illinois born Bellenden Hutcheson who came to Canada at the start of the war to gain wartime surgical experience and went overseas with the 75th Expeditionary Force, later renamed the Toronto Scottish. (I have proud and fond memories of serving with this unit for many years in the 1960's and 70's.)
Captain Hutcheson earned his VC for actions in 1918 near the Drocourt-Quent Support Line in France. Sergeant George Mullin, born at Portland Oregon moved to Saskatchewan at the age of 2 and served with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, earning his VC for bravery in the famous battle at Passchendaele Belgium in 1917. The third hero listed is Minnesota born Sergeant Raphael Zengel who also moved to Saskatchewan as a youth and would later serve with the North Saskatchewan Regiment and earned his Victoria Cross near Warvillers France in 1918. And finally listed is Lance Corporal; William Metcalf, Maine born and who served with the Canadian Scottish Regiment and was awarded his VC for actions in 1918 for actions at Arras France. His bravery took place on the same day as did Hutcheson's.
Princess Anne and party will be coming to Canada to celebrate our national memorial services at Ottawa on the 11th of November. The Royal Princess will be performing many duties in her two day visit and one of these, just confirmed, is that she will also be unveiling the Canadian VC plaque from Britain. As noted in the past in this space, it lists some 70 names of VC recipients and of the 11 countires being awarded these plaques, it has the most men listed.
Perhaps the Canadian media might bring us a story on this in the days to come!
On a final note, I must thank my good friend, researcher, historian, author and huge supporter of this blog, Tony from Halifax. He has sent me an incredible song going viral on the net and called the "Hometown Battlefield" and I plead with each one of you to take five minutes and listen to it..and then pass it along to others.
It is at... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9eOfVGz9vw
Please listen, and I will be back next Sunday with more news...