Looking back to early August and moving forward to this week, this blog has continued its mandate to bring you new stories and old about the Canadian Medal of Honor men, and a few of our great Victoria Cross recipients as well.
Over this period I brought you the story of a fellow that claimed birth in 2 countries, used several dates of birth, and residences, had numerous enlistments in the navy, saved 3 men from burning to death then almost losing his own life, all before being awarded a MOH. He'd abandon one wife to take up with a 2nd (at the same time), and would loose his medal which now lays at the base of the Hoover Dam. Millions of Americans and Canadians annually look out over Lake Meade, knowing nothing, I suspect, about that hidden treasure. All this from a man who spent much of his youth at Winnipeg.
You read of the MOH man who was twice charged with murder and got off. But then serendipity caught up to him when the hero was himself murdered...by a family member to boot. That murderer's father was our man's BROTHER. And that brother was also a MOH man.
Blogs told of the unveiling of a new marker ceremony in California, a reminder of the brick donated at Gettysburg by this writer for another MOH man, of a plaque in England on a city street and a school, a paving stone also in England and a monument in Europe, and a monument to be built in Minnesota that will honour several MOH men including at least 4 Canadians.
These weekly ramblings also yet again reminded you of a city street, an army camp and 8 war vessels named in honour of Canadian heroes. Others noted the recent Remembrance Day ceremonies here in Victoria and Washington DC to reflect of 2 more Canadian heroes.
Over this span of time I also brought you great news that an Ontario Medal of Honor has been located in Canada, and reminded you of another on public display at Calgary's Glenbow Museum.
In the midst of bringing you the above and more mentions involving at least 31 Medal of Honor and 24 Victoria Cross men Canadians, (or with Cdn. connections) I also shared with you the fact that in early December this blog turned 4 years old, though my work started some 13 years before the blog saw light of day.
And for the last 4 1/2 months, while bringing you the above stories, I have been bouncing of the wall waiting to share with you another that I was not allowed to release... till now.
And here it is...
The letter offers the GG's congratulations, and provided details with regards to having the medal either sent to me or presented, at my choice.
Just a few months earlier, on 29 April, the Governor General issued a press release noting that he had been working on the creation of an award to give back to a publicly nominated selection from millions of Canadians. Men and women of all ages and backgrounds who, on a regular basis give so much of themselves to better the lives of their fellow Canadians.
Some 402 awards were made by the Governor General during his term. While he held many impressive ceremonies at Ottawa, Lt Governors, Order of Canada recipients and other dignitaries across the country would assist in making local presentations of not only a formal certificate but also a personally signed letter of congratulations from the GG and a lapel pin that they could proudly wear as they so chose.
In April of 2016 our current Governor General, the Right Honourable David Johnston held the first ever ceremony at Ottawa for a new version of the Award. It was now elevated to an actual medal, and as above noted, called the Sovereign Medal for Volunteers. It would be a letter from his office that I received above. It has since been learned that the actual award is dated August 1st.
In order to attend I had to drop my list of about 30 I wanted to invite... to three. That took some doing.
Next to a presentation of Persons Awards to six very dedicated women back in Ottawa, this had to be the 2nd most impressive ceremony that I have been at. And I have been at a few very impressive events for MOH and VC men over the years.
(MY jacket looks a little sloppy... and it was... not only from my pounding chest, but because, with the loss of about 100 pounds over the last year or more, I had turned the massive jacket in to a double vested blazer. Hehe)
And now to the title... Thank You, Thank You... Thank You...
I am very proud to have received this medal, but must note that over the years literally thousands of people from all across Canada, the US and several other countries have made contact by email, phone and letter to provide comments, advise, information and motivation and yet more pieces to the ever expanding puzzle that started with 54 Canadian Medals of Honor men. That number now stands at 113. My investigations of the accepted VC numbers also started with the traditional mid 90's numbers, but have now increased to 107.
None of this would have been possible without this incredible support, and to each belongs a piece of this medal.
And before signing off, I also want to make note that you too can show your support by identifying the dozens around you whom you already know have spent decades, without pay or reward in volunteering efforts. Why not volunteer yourself... to go to the Governor General's website... caring.gc.ca ... and discover how easy it is to make your own recommendations to honor those you know that are also deserving this recognition.
What better way to help them to make Canada a better place before we leave it.
cheers till next week,