I anxiously await some promised real goodies from both families.
I believe Charles MacGillivary was the only MOH recipient that ultimately ended up as President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, who was in fact a non US born recipient. He helped to created the society and usher through the passing by the US Congress of the authority to form the society, after WW11 and thus the term "Congressional" in its name. Though the medal, as you hopefully know, does not include the name.
Charles also played a role in the creation of the newer model of grave markers that have been placed across the US and Canada since the US bicentennial. (It appears this model may have been recently changed but more in another blog.)
Charles also took the first four of the flat markers outside of the USA. He did this by bringing them to Canada many years ago, and unveiled them in suitable ceremonies of four recipients burial places in the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
He did the same at many graves in the US and one of these was at the grave site of Seaman Herbert Foss from Wisconsin. He and about 50 others were involved in the cable cutting incident in Cuba on 11 May 1898 and of which much has been said in this space in the past. In that same event the two Miller brothers from Nova Scotia, Daniel J Campbell of PEI and Henry Russell of Quebec were also involved and awarded the MOH. On the same day but in other events, Nova Scotian Thomas Cooney and Ontario born John Everetts also became MOH recipients.
All of the above and Leonard Chadwick have been mentioned in this space. Chadwick being of course not only a MOH man from cable cutting days in Cuba, but also one of only 8 in the world, to be awarded the Queen's Scarf for repeated actions of bravery during South Africa's Boer War. He almost got the Victoria Cross. Not once but three times. This, just months after being a hero in Cuba wearing a US Sailor's uniform.
Regular readers of these blogs know of my interest to have the Canadian recipients better recognized in Canada. Across the US you can find plaques and monuments, army bases, streets, bridges, buildings, airfields, statutes and war ships, just to name a few ways that Americans recognize their heroes.
But coming north of the border, of the six Canadians named above, after 13 years of research I can find only one plaque in Nova Scotia, to recognize any of these six. But those same six have at least one park, 2 streets names, 1 armouries, and well over a dozen monuments containing their names in the United States.
The question must be asked... why are we so slow in recognizing our heroes? And better yet... when are we going to do anything about It?
The great Canadian statesman and Father of Confederation...Joseph Howe once said that... "A wise nation preserves its records, gatheres up its monuments, decorates the tombs of its illustrious dead, repairs its great structures, and fosters national pride and love of country by perpetual references to the sacrifices and glories of the past."
This man, who would become known as the founder of Freedom of the Press in Canada, surely did not mean that we ought to recognize our heroes...or shall I better say...just some of them...and... just sometimes.
Winston Churchill once said that... "A people who have forgotten their heritage, are a people who have lost faith in theirselfs." I hope he was wrong!
JFK left us with the words that..."A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers." (I'd like to add women to this quote.)
So folks, back to Leading Seaman Foss above mentioned...
Travelling one third of the way across the US to Wisconsin, as you cross into the state you can find an auto rest stop and comfort station and a wonderful Medal of Honor memorial to the state's MOH men. While you will find nothing that I know of in Canada to honour Quebec born recipient Albert O'Connor, you can find that at least our American friends have taken the trouble to honour him. His name is on the right image above.
And in November of 2012 the State's Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled their newest monument to the state Medal of Honor recipients at the Veterans Home at King. Pictured below is that unveiling. Notice the fellow at the far left in the center image. That is Vietnam MOH recipient Gary Wetzel, who joined state officials at the historic event.
And at my request today, some of the folks at the state department also came to my aid. I wanted an image of the engraved name of Canadian hero Albert O'Connor. HIs name ought to have been on this monument. And despite the near 40 below temperature and a whole lot of snow about, they bundled up and stomped out in the snow to help out. Below are the photos they most kindly sent.... not from the files...but from the snow. You can even see their footprints.
They must have brushed the snow off the monument but left it with a cute little little hat to remind us here in southern BC what the stuff looks like...hehe.
You can see O'Connor's name at the right and just three down from another familiar name I would hope. I would like to thank the staff who arranged and took the pictures, the state for creating these memorials and those all across the US that do their part to keep these stories alive.
John F Kennedy once said that...:anyone can make a difference... and everyone should try." These state folks did that today. I hope their bosses know this.
See you on Friday.