As many also brought your thoughts back to the horrors of the Great War and of course the beginning of the horrors we now know as the 4 month Battle of the Somme. By the time it was over the Allies would have suffered some 650,000 casualties with almost a third of heroes killed. Of these, 24,000 came from Canada and were wounded, killed or missing in action.
The very first day of the horrendous campaign saw 100,000 climb out of their trenches and move forward across no-man's land. Soon 20,000 lay dead on the battlefield... the worst day in Britain's military history.
Much has already been said in the press about this so I will talk briefly about another battle also of considerable historic importance. This was fought not in Europe but in North America.
On land, much of it owned by Sam who left Ireland due to persecution by the British. A few years after setting up in the United States Sam's land would become known as Marsh Creek.
Even though thousands died on that land and its surrounds, you still probably never heard of it.
His son would soon sell off land in a few hundred parcels and it became known as a burgh. And it would be named after the family who's surname was Gettys.
Now you've heard of it!
It was 157 years ago today that 150 Confederate cannons battled it out for about 2 hours with 100 Union cannons in the grandest battery every amassed anywhere on the continent before...or since.
Then the mile long line of Southern troops struggled through the infantry fire less than a mile in front and advanced in nothing short of a suicide mission as the Union continued with the cannon fire as well as having four lines of troops firing at the enemy. As one fired he went to the back of the line to reload. Number 2 would step up then # 3 and 4 and back to #1 in a continuous slaughter.
When that portion of the battle came to a horrific end less than an hour later over 7,500 men... and a few women disguised as men... would lay dead or dying and so mangled that they probably wished they were dead.
The first 5 pages... or 50 hits, in a Google search yesterday produced dozens of stories on topic and handful not. But not one of them mentioned the word Canada, despite the fact that Canadians, possibly as high as 700 as noted in an earlier blog here, fought in that very battle. Many were wounded and died that day, and to this day remain buried under known... and "unknown" marked graves in Gettysburg.
A Pro Quest similar search covering the same time period produced THREE stories in the Canadian press. All three simply noted that...on this day... the battle was fought, Again no mention of Canadians! (Gettysburg has been mentioned close to 50 times..if not more... in this space over the past 3 years)
Moving on... here is a picture of a true Canadian hero. Actually he was Irish but came to Canada as a teen, joined the military and went off to serve in the Great War. He would be awarded the Military Medal at Passchendaele, and the Victoria Cross during the Battle of the Canal Du Nord in France just about a month before Armistice Day.
As is often the case, it almost completely missed any press coverage whatsoever. And that is a shame.
It was on, what else... Canada Day, when one or more misfits decided to damage the monument erected in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario in his honor. The culprit(s) toppled the top portion resulting in damage that will costs thousands to repair. While a plea went out for public donations, I can see only one paper that has carried the story... twice. Google the hero's name and you will find it.
This hero was so important that there was a time when a Royal Train stopped to allow his entry. He has met many members of Royalty in his day, and the respect he got in his own home town by the culprits is disgusting.
Apparently one has been caught and charged with breach of probation and mischief. The later calls for a fine NOT LESS than $1,000 and a possibility of jail time for upwards of ten years.
One can only hope that the judge is having a less than perfect day when he or she appears in court. Perhaps the culprit(s) should be forced to write a speech about their misdeed, and noting the possibility of criminal conviction consequences and delivering that speech IN PERSON to several schools in the area where the misdeed was performed.
It is covered under section 430 (4.11) on the Criminal Code for those wishing more night time reading.
On a more positive note, next week I hope to be able to bring you the story of the latest addition to my ever expanding list of Canadian Medal of honor recipients. A list not duplicated ANYWHERE on the net.
Hope to see you then,