They ask how much did I get paid for the work I do to bring you these stories. They want to know how many read my work, who thanked me or even cares about the work.
To begin, over close to 2 decades I have received less than $500 in speaking or teaching fees and for overnight housing costs. On the other hand my costs have been probably in excess of $25,000 over those years. These do not include office costs for computer, long distance telephone fees, URL and cable fees and more.
The readership question depends on how stats are evaluated, and how accurate they are. About 2/3rds of the way through the life of the blog I was told by the server company that the stats since day one were being created wrong and changes were made. Some comfort when my numbers took a major dive.
But the story was more important than the numbers and I kept on nevertheless. I now estimate that there have been close to a million computer and individual hits. These num bers should be ten times higher but, with no funding for employing computer whizzes to assist with proper marketing of web sites, and their appearance, much is to be desired, I readily admit.
Who cares? Where to start?
On Canada Day back in 2005, the then serving Canadian Ambassador to the United States, took a military delegation to that nation's jewel of cemeteries... Arlington National Cemetery, to perform a service in remembrance of 9 Canadians who had earned Medals of Honor . In follow up correspondence to me he admitted the service was performed... at my request... and that the Embassy had no knowledge whatsoever that Canada had earned these medals and in fact that 9 were buried within a few miles of their very offices.
The Ambassador of Canada and his staff cared.
In 2007 the US Consulate to Canada, at Toronto, sent a delegation to Lindsay Ontario for a service where I also attended, as one of the organizers, and joined with me and 3 others in the unveiling of a memorial grave marker for an Ontario born Medal of Honor recipient.
The Consul cared, as did his staff. And so did the people of Lindsay, the re-enactors, the public, those that came up from New York and even the monument company that donated the memorial marker for free. They all cared.
That same year a grave stone was unveiled correcting the spelling and acknowledging the MOH status of a Canadian veteran buried in Los Angeles California. I attended and again was one of those unveiling the stone. The attending US General had many a question for me and was stunned to learn of the Canadian involvement with the US and in fact to be reminded that under his own command where Canadians.
He presented his country's flag to family, and they in turn to the Canadian Consulate office, where it is on display to this day I believe. An American flag in a Canadian government office. HMMMM!
All involved cared.
There are many other stories, but I want to also note the 2013 visit to Gettysburg and the shaking of hands of some 45 actual Medal of Honor recipients. Each was told most briefly about one of several Canadians who had earned the MOH. And each was stunned to here of such a major role we played in US military history.
They all cared.
As do the families of those gone, who earned the MOH. Many of the over 450 blogs in this space have brought stories about families meeting each other for the first time, or discovering a relative who had earned the medal or seeing a picture of him and or the medal... all cared.
In August 2017, the former Governor General of Canada wrote me a personal note to advise the he had awarded me HRH Queen Elizabeth ll's... Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, for my work over the years and the blog, then about 4 yrs old. He added his personal thanks... "for everything you do, you have made your community and our country stronger."
So too did our former BC Lt Governor who had flags flown at my request over Government House here in Victoria. These were to be presented to the family of Rowland Bourke, a Victoria Cross and Distinguished Service Order recipient buried in Victoria and to the Ship's Captain and entire crew of the latest US Coast Guard Cutter Munro. This US warship is the 3rd in the US named after Vancouver BC born Medal of Honor recipient Douglas Munro, killed saving 500 lives and the only MOH recipient in that agency's history.
Both were flown over Government House on dates reflecting importance to both events.
And on no less that 3 occasions the former Lt Governor reminded me of her trips across BC and the telling over and over several of her favorite stories, one of these being the Douglas Munro story.
She too obviously cared.
Having one parent run over by a truck in WWll and another with glass piercing though her face in the same war, a grandfather who ran away from home as a teen to enlist in the Boer War, then serving in both World Wars and earning the MM, a distance cousin the VC and lineage to a Cdn PM (and former NS premier, and Father of Confederation) and to Royalty to boot, Remembrance was not an option... it was a duty in our family. And not one limited to one day a year. It also included on my part close to 20 years in uniform.
This background coupled with police work and writing, soon had me finding a niche in the military world not being properly addressed in Canada, and I day say..in the US as well. That being the Canadian connection to the Medal of Honor. The niche I have developed has no serious competition anywhere in North American that I am aware of.
This involves massive research, discovery, advocacy, documenting and promoting in an on-going basis. It also involves the rewriting of history, or should I say the correcting of history, and on occasion the correction of my own work. Two cases sit on my desk now and awaiting my attention.
The work going into these blogs is also greatly contributed to by supporters across the continent, and beyond, who bring corrections or other details and original research to my attention. Without their considerable time, energy and interest, this blog space would be sadly lacking.
And they all care also!
This caring goes extends to not just the heroes that came away from war with medals pinned to their chests. It also includes those who came home with wounds and disease, and those with ailments not readily visible to the eye. So too does this care extend to those on the home front and the costs paid there throughout the war years and beyond.
But so too did we care for those who did not come home, those that remembrance mostly focus its attention on.
Back about 80 years ago we in Canada did something even greater. We wanted to recognize our friends to the south, and more importantly the 30,000 or more than came northbound to enlist before the US joined the WW1 war efforts. And more specifically, those who served with Canada but were killed in action. In 1927 Our Prime Minister asked the US government to donate some land at the most sacred of all areas. That land being in Arlington National Cemetery. We asked their permission to mount a memorial to those Americans who were KIA while serving under Canada's (British) command.
Arlington's Cross stands to this day within a few feet of the juncture of Memorial and Farragut Drives. Surely the most traveled areas of the cemetery and within very close proximity of the Amphitheater, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers where millions visit annually.
Farragut being the famous Civil War Admiral whom captured Mobile Bay after days of battle and its later surrender. Entering into the heavily fortified waters, his first vessel was destroyed leaving few survivors, after it plowed into a torpedo. (underwater bomb) The next in line stalled in fear of the same result and thus caused a ripple effect on about another dozen of the Union fleet from moving forward onto the attack.
Farragut had earlier climbed up one of the masts to get a look beyond the smoke of battle to command all, saw what was happening and hollered down ... "Damb the torpedoes... full speed ahead."
Medals of Honor came to Canada for participating in this battle to PEI's Thomas Fitzgerald, William Pelham from Halifax, Louis Chaput and James McIntosh from Montreal.
It should also be mentioned that a fellow by the name of Adam McCulloch also earned a MOH in this battle. He was not connected to Canada. But of interest, he was one of the double recipients in US history. But it claims only 19, his not being one of them... after history STOLE it from him as a member of the 27th Maine, oft noted in this space in the past. Note also that the famed Farragut flagship Hartford is where Fitzgerald and Pelham served and their resulting bravery brought them their Medals of Honor.
So while we see a Canadian cross remembering the Americans, we see a street at the same location that, in part, can be argued to remember those Canadians, and others who helped Farragut become famous from one of his most well known battles. Doubtfully one in a thousand traveling that area know it!
Here's a map of Arlington Cemetery, and a close up of the area where the cross is mounted...
The upper left arrow points to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and below this the arrow points up to the approximate location of the Cross of Sacrifice.
I am not sure if this has been repeated over the years. But note that a few years back.. in 2016 HRH Princess Anne and husband and others traveled to Arlington, and later to Canada to unveil plaques commemorating certain Victoria Cross recipients. The unveiling actually came about as a result of earlier mistakes in England re who could be named on the plaques and who could not. Several blogs in this space brought you that story. Four of the five honoured on the Arlington plaque all served with the Canadian forces in WW1 when earning their VC's. Their names were also added to the plaque at Ottawa.
The 1927 Cross of Sacrifice unveiling and dedication was attended by many dignitaries from both Canada and the US including our Prime Minister and the US President. Over 200 Canadian troops representing several regiments, and bands form several units including the famed 48th Highlanders from Toronto participated as well. American troops in large numbers also played a role as did several of their bands.
Tomorrow I will bring another blog, to make up for last weeks missing blog, and will end today's with finishing remarks.
see you then,