The message is much deeper. It is about inspiring Canadians by showing normal day to day men women AND YOUTH how their fellow Canadians coming from all the same walks of life have done more than just the ordinary. Folks who have refused to accept the typical...no you can't attitude...and reached out for the challenges. Not only stretching but actually embracing, and in so doing, overcoming what were thought to be insurmountable odds. Reaching success time after time while others were too busy scratching their heads and wondering how it got done. And in this process these men and women and youth have made themselves and their country... the envy of the world.
On Friday I promised a look inside this exhibit so here we go...
In a brief video you are welcomed to the exhibit and given a brief few words about its purpose.
This image depicts the top of the three possible levels of the Order of Canada, that of the Companion of the order. Easily distinguished by the solid red maple leaf at its centre.
The order is shaped like a snowflake. This design reflects the fact that each snowflake is an individual... no two alike. So too for the recipients of the award.
Here the kids get to see the Jersey of Canada's "Rockstar" of hockey, the one and only Sidney Crosby from Cole Harbour (Halifax) Nova Scotia. (Current Captain of the NHL's Penguins.)
In the same area they will find the signed basketball of international acclaimed Steve Nash, South African born but raised in Victoria BC. He is the current eldest player in the game and is with the LA Lakers and not long ago recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Not bad eh! Two Canadians...one from each end of the country known to the world. That's what being a Canadian is all about...if you just go searching. And in between there were lots of others duly noted for their efforts to make Canada and the world a better place.
Award winning actor Michael J Fox is recognized here for his incredible work in the area of Parkinson's Disease, Clara Hughes gets most honourable mention for her speed skating championships and Guy LaLiberte, one of the co-founders of the Circus Du Soloil is also well represented, as are many other famous Canadians.
Note in the above image the students with their clipboards. On these are scavenger hunt activity sheets. These allow the children to explore all exhibits and then take questions to see what they have learned.
The visitor is shown many of the famous folks they have heard of and get to learn more about each, but that is just the carrot... so to speak. The exhibit quickly moves into the whole area of the awards system and with many displays brings to the visitor an image, or in many cases an actual medal they can see. Some they can even touch and hold!
The aim of this website and these blogs is to bring you stories of over 100 Canadian war heroes, and those with connections to Canada that have who earned the American Medal of Honor. That aim was expanded several months ago to also include stories about the Canadian Victoria Cross recipients.
A distant relative of my family earned a VC, I have interviewed Canada's last living VC recipient five times and have actually held three different VC medal groupings over the years, 2 dating to the earliest days of the medal in the 1850's. For any military man or woman, you can readily understand such interest since. I have also a very strong interest in the Order of Canada and the Persons Award as my late mother was a very proud recipient of both these, two Queen's, and the Canada 125th medal and of course her WW11 medals.
Thus my strongest of reasons to go to Duncan a few weeks back to view this exhibit and bring you this story.
I was pleased to see the images of the Victoria Cross on static display. The one above tells of the new Canadian medals created a few years back, one being a Canadian version of the British VC. Ours now reads...Pro Valor, for reasons explained in the exhibit. There is also an interesting story about the actual metals used in the building of these new most prestigious awards for heroism.
At the top of the new order of medals are of course the Victoria Cross, the Star of Valour and the Medal of Military Bravery. These form the group called the Military Valour Awards. One of the exhibits actually includes all three in a display. Criteria for each is explained. These are a must to see by all Canadians.
The next three in the order are part of a group called the Decorations for Bravery, and again criteria is available at the exhibits that include actual medals on display. In order, they are the Cross of Valour, the Star of Courage and the Medal of Bravery.
At the bottom left of this image is the monument that you saw in my last few blogs for Duncan BC born Major Hoey, who was awarded the Military Cross, and then soon after,.and 60 years ago this week earned his Victoria Cross posthumously. (Covered recently in tis space, he will be again mentioned in Friday's blog.)
As mentioned above, by clicking on the image you get brief details as now seen here on the right.
It is indeed an honour to have appeared on this site.
Note the proud "Heroes Live Forever" cap and the 150th remembrance of the famous 3 days of battle at Gettysburg Pa shirt worn.
There may have been upwards of 700 Canadians on that battlefield and there are certainly dozens buried there today.
Much has been written on this site of my recent 21 day visit to there and Washington DC back in September/October of last year to continue my research on these mostly unknown Canadian heroes.
Note also the actual medal at lower right
It is fasten to the exhibit by a spring loaded wire so that it can be removed and brought closer to get a better look... and feel.
Throughout out the exhibit there are a number of these, and folks who are really interested get to touch and feel and remember what is it to hold such an honourable and high award created by this great country of ours for our heroes.
I am sure the kids loved them.
The organizers have also given us a treat. They have taken steps to contact actual recipients of the various medals and invited them to come out and see the exhibit as it passed by their locations. Men and woman and children have all come out who are actual recipients. And if you go to see this exhibit you may very well run into one of these heroes and get to shake their hand and hear their stories and share their pride.
Don't forget to thank them for their service! Believe me... it means something to them.
Let me give you an example. Several years ago in Halifax I was riding the bus one day and an older couple got on the bus. The lady was wearing her proud pin that accompanied the Order of Canada. It is a miniature that is worn as a lapel pin. They both were so appreciative. But better yet, the smile that came on her face when I asked what she had done to earn the Order of Canada was indescribable. I think she was just so happy that someone just recognized the incredible award.
Sadly most don't.
Before ending this blog I want to make special mention of the exhibit to Canadian and now world famous Chris Hadfield. He's the fellow, as if you don't know, who is the first Canadian to have walked in space and has travelled around earth 2,500 times... but mostly he rode... hehe.
Hadfield's message to the young and the old is that you ought not to allow obstructions or obstructionists to get in your way of making dreams come true. And he ought to know. He is afraid of heights!
Yet that did not stop him in helping to build the Canadarm 2...while in space. And having visited two space stations he ended up commanding the international station at the very time that the Canadian government revealed its new $5 bill with images of an astronaut, Canadarm 2 and the two armed robot cutely named Dextre.
His motivating and very inspiring message is brought to the viewer by way of a fascinating hologram, and is in itself, worth the trip to venture out and see this exhibit.
I'll return with some more on the exhibit on Friday.
In the mean time I must mention that most of the images contained here in the last two blogs have been courtesy of Rideau Hall and their on road crew taken since July of 2013 and also to the Cowichan Leader Pictorial.
Today's blog was late because it was soooooooooo long.
See you again tomorrow, and till then Google the ..."It's an Honour" website for lots of great info on this most worthwhile endeavor.