It's not long before I am asked why the interest in the MOH?
Today's first story, like hundreds since I started this blog over 18 months ago hits on the answer to that question. I talk and write about not just the Medal of Honor (and the Victoria Cross) but with a very special slant most of the time. While I sometimes drift from the theme, usually the materials cover a recipient who either was a Canadian, or who lived in Canada, for awhile before or after the event to which he was awarded, or has some other connection to Canada.
I do not know of ANYONE else in North America that covers the topic with this depth, and from this angle.
This is well illustrated with the story of a young high school student in the US who read one or more of my blogs and recently contacted me. He was interested in Wesley J Powers whom I have noted a few times in this space. I have written a full blog on Wesley and it appears at... http://www.canadianmedalofhonor.com/wednesday-and-friday-blogs/archives/05-2013/3
The student had a dilemma. All in the class were told they had to do a term paper on a Medal of Honor recipient. He was assigned Powers, someone he and probably everybody else in the class knew nothing about. He was upset because some of the others had famous heroes to write about. And he had Powers. Not so famous, though through no fault of his own. He was every bit the hero all the others where... but no one bothered in the past to tell his story the way I did in this space.
There's the answer folks. These are stories that need to be told, and have not been told in many cases or only briefly covered.
I trust Wesley, pictured here and very proudly wearing his Civil War army version of the Medal of Honor, would be happy. His parents came to Canada from the US...by snowshoes apparently. They settled in a place once called Canada West, but the family later returned to the US. Wesley tried to join up for Civil War service several times but was rejected due to his youth. So he ran away. Actually he walked... for EIGHTY MILES, said he was an orphan, lied yet again about age and went off to war and heroism resulting in his getting the Medal of Honor...after a 30 year wait, mind you. But it arrived on the right day. His birthday.
Kudo's to the student for tackling the challenge of researching Wesley, and to his school for giving out the assignment in the first place. One needs to ask how long we have to wait to see the assignment being done in Canadian classrooms.
It is a great story and if you go to the above link, you can see what the student read, and no doubt stunned his classmates and teacher with.
The Riverside Historical Society, the jail and Heritage Toronto had sponsored the placing of the plaque in honour of the old Jail Governor's residence on site.
Contact was made with me as I had written a blog about Victoria Cross recipient Walter Rayfield some time back. Some of the photo's used were requested for a video to be released about the unveiling.
Walter tried to sign up mot once nut twice and was rejected in Canada. he then went down to California and somehow managed to sign up with a Canadian unit from there and went off to war and earned a VC in 1918.
His story can be read at...
Walter is shown here with his VC on his left chest. After WW l he returned to Toronto and for many years worked at the Don Jail, rising in rank to deputy and then governor of the jail. His residence is shown above as is the plaque recently placed to identify the historic property. He later was appointed Sergeant at Arms at the Ontario Legislature.
This is the Rayfield medal group with the VC of course on the left. The plaque mounting video can be seen at... http://riverdalehistoricalsociety.com/plaques/ On the video they credited this blog for the photos.
More on Friday