Remembrance Day – a day when many pause to reflect on the sacrifices given by others. It is a time that seems to evoke memories and stories of a period in history that we hope will never recur.
It is at this time that family history becomes more important. Case in point, Susan Jarvis’ story of finding out what happened to her father 69 years later. Killed in a firefight in Cordebugle, France before she was born, her father was part of a unit pushing the Germans toward the River Seine. His name is one of eight on a plaque on the town monument. If not for the efforts of another soldier’s relative, Susan many never have known what really happened to the father she never met. It is that same Adelbert “Buddy” Miller that Tom Moffat tells the story about when they were playing ball and Buddy fired a baseball at him and it hit Tom’s middle finger and buckled the knuckle. He still bears the results of that incident today.
Those anecdotal stories of Buddy Miller and 18 other young Quesnel ‘boys’ are immortalized in Tom Moffat’s DVD called The Wall of Fame. Tom’s ‘labour of love’ was started more than 13 years ago just after the old Legion building burnt down. Concerned that many stories and memories had burned with it, Tom took it upon himself to research and record the histories of the 19 young men who went to war (WWII) and never returned.
For years, Tom would attend Remembrance Day Ceremonies at schools and tell their stories so they would not be forgotten. Finally, he was persuaded to make a video and it is now available for those who wish to learn more about Quesnel’s contribution to world peace.
Names like Cameron, Purmal, Len Harper, Milton Hill, Billy Winder and Robertson are ones that should have us all pause to reflect on what others have done for us. Many West Quesnel streets are named after these young men. As you drive through those neighbourhoods, consider taking the time to say a little thank you to those who made certain we have the freedom to do so.
We are the Dead. Short days ago, we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved and were loved. John McCrea
Hope to see you as you ‘pass time’ at the Museum.
Honey Affleck is chair of the museum commission and regular Observer contributor.