Monday, November 10, 2008

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In Flanders Fields.

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
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We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
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Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
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Lieutenant Colonel John McRae.

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This is the week in history that should be foremost and number one in the minds of all folks in the free world. I am speaking specifically of the symbolic end of armed conflict involving Canadian men and women. The eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, hence, Remembrance Day.
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Remembrance Day was to be a day of reflection, a day to put aside the trials and tribulations of everyday life and show respect for all those who so unselfishly were there to answer the call without conscription, and travel to a far away land in an effort to do their part for all Canadians in an effort to bring successful conclusion to the threat of loss of freedom.
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In the past few years I am troubled when I can notice a down turn in the recognition of this date. True, many of the elder men and women who took part in these conflicts are no longer with us, and their numbers are dwindling each year. That is no excuse. It simply is not. One only needs to take an example from the last verse of Colonel McRae's poem to recognize that fact. He states it well. . . "Take up our quarrel with the foe, to you from failing hands we throw, The torch be yours to hold it high, If ye break faith with those who die, we shall not sleep". . .
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Many of us in Canada can trace our roots to an ancestor who answered the call. It is important to note that from all those who answered the call many thousands were not fortunate enough to come back home. From those who did manage to make it back to our shores, there were many whose lifes would forever be changed from physical and psychological injuries.
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The highest award for valour in the British Commonwealth is the Victoria Cross. I have been particularly blessed by personally meeting two recipients of the Victoria Cross. Through media work I had the occasion to meet the late retired Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Merritt and the late Sergeant Ernest Alvia (Smokey) Smith. Both of these gentlemen were everyday people, just like you and I. Sergeant Smith always had time for a laugh and a joke.
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In the case of Sergeant Smith, he was happy to oblige when young children would ask him questions about the military and the war. He knew just the way to explain it to them in language they could grasp without fright. I had the opportunity to hold his Victoria Cross medal. I have to tell you, it caused goose bumps. Suddenly one realizes the appreciation that we should hold for these gallant people as they fought the horrors of war.
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Each November 11th, I personally make a point of visiting a military cenotaf. I encourage others to do the same. For many, it provides an opportunity for young people to cross paths with others who made a big sacrifice by fighting and standing up for the freedoms that we enjoy to this day. Freedoms and rights were not free. They came at teriffic cost. These are the things that we should all think about, these are the things that we should be impressing upon our youngsters. Upon visiting a cenotaf one very quickly learns those tears in the eyes of elderly men and women are genuine and real, especially where in many cases they are being shed by someone horribly disfigured from the rigors of war. These people are however, not lamenting on their own injuries, they are lamenting the loss of those who did not return.
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Even though many returned military personnel had made a teriffic sacrifice in Europe and elsewhere, some were not treated very well in the years immediately following the war. One of these soldiers was from the province of Quebec. He was from the town of Gaspe' on the Gaspe' peninsula. His name was Wilbert Coffin. This is particularly significant because Wilbert Coffin came from Quebec, and the then premier of the day, Maurice Duplessis was against Quebec taking part in the war in Europe. Duplessis liked the freedoms, but he was totally against trying to win them.
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I invite you to express your thoughts on the comments page. If there are those who thought that I had fallen off the face of the earth, I am pleased to inform that I am still here. If there are those who hoped that I had fallen off the face of the earth, I encourage you to stay tuned and pay attention.
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Lew Stoddard
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Photo Credit: Minister Supply and Services Canada

22 comments:

Betty Ebert said...

It has been a long time since I commented on your site. Glad to see you are up and about. I was touched by your writing on Rememberance Day. So sad but true.

Betty Ebert
Toronto

Barb B said...

Do you really think that interest in Remembrance Day is shrinking? If it is, that is so sad. Otherwise did all those people die in vain? do we have no sense of reality.

Barb B
Fredericton

Joyce said...

Dear Mr. Stoddard

A very fitting reminder of what November 11 ia all about. You state it well and with determination. Glad to see you are still pushing forward on the Wilbert Coffin case.

Joyce
Bristol, New Brunswick

Sandra Doucette said...

Lew,

Good to see you back again. I worry about you when I do not hear from you, and you haven't dropped into my work place for some time.

Am anxious to see what you were telling me the last time that we talked with regrds to the Coffin case. I was thinking about that a few days ago, hoping it is going well for you, and I am sure it will make a huge difference.

I will phone you for coffee one day later this week and you can bring me up to date. Great Remembrance Day message by the way. Very thoughtful of you.

Sandra Doucette
Mission

Bill Clendenning said...

Lew I know you have been down for a bit and am anxious to see you continue with the Coffin investigation. I have always said you will be the one who will be responsible for cracking this case.

A nice tribute by the way for Remembrance Day.

Bill Clendenning
Winnipeg

Old Shorty The Long Haul Driver said...

I don't believe it as i bring up your web site tonight and hey man there you are with a brand new post. Big of you to remember the war vets.they deserve all the praise that we can give them.

My dad lost two brothers in the second war so I know what you are speaking about.

i know you have something big planned for the murder case but i am patient. Hey man how are you feeling now anyway,hope you are ok.

Old Shorty
On The Cold Prairie

Patricia G said...

How nice of you Sir to focus attention on the military people. It is such an uncertain life. Over the years wars have torn many families apart. It was nice to see that you lend them your support. The country needs more of that, maybe then we could bypass a lot of the turmoil that seems to be there.

I lost my Dad in the Second World War, I was only five at the time. Your posting brought tears to my eyes earlier today, but they were happy tears. I say happy because it made me happy to see that you would take the time to publicly display your message. My husband and I read your web site. We are formerly from Moncton, now living near Ottawa.

Patricia G
Ontario

R. Willett said...

Hi Lew. Great to see you back on line. Remembrance Day is close to my heart because of what I have learned through the Legion and talking with some of the Veterans. It is also a time to remind us of our fine men and women who are in harm's way, at the present time, and pray for their safety and return to home. Elsie tried to call a couple of times and sends her regards. Keep the faith.
Thanks Lew - Rick

Grace Manson said...

It makes me sad as well to see people not paying attention to what remembrance day stands for.Including uncles and cousins i lost 5 family members in the second war. they deserved to live their lives as well but chose to put their lives on line for all of us. To not respect that is a very low blow.
May you be blessed Lew.

Grace Manson
Victoria

D Wright said...

Thank you for all your work in your efforts to right the Coffin case.
I just came back from Legion services commemorating Remembrance Day. I thought of your message while at the ceremony, you are so correct in what you say and you display a lot of respect.

D Wright
Winnipeg

Herb McCarthy said...

My thoughts are with all the returned men and women out there. I am sending this message through my grand daughter. Bless each and everyone.

Herb McCarthy
Burlington
Ontario

H Theberge said...

Lew I have a question. My question is this. Are you certain that Duplessis was against getting involved in the war, and why would he take that stand?

H Theberge
Amherst, Nova Scotia

Lew Stoddard said...

Reply to H. Theberge

Thank you for taking the time to ask a question on my web site.

Maurice Duplessis was against anything that resembled democracy. If it did not originate with the thinking of Duplessis, it simply did not exist in his mind. You do not have to take my word on that. I invite you to research Duplessis and you will quickly learn that for yourself.

You see, in simple terms, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others, Duplessis was nothing short of a dictator.

If you were not Catholic, if you were not French, and if you did not support the Union Nationalle Party, then you did not exist.

In terms of support for the war in Europe, Duplessis said "No" He was so wrapped into his own cocoon that he forgot that Quebec was and still is a valued part of Canada.

Duplessis also lost sight of the fact that it was the federal government in Ottawa that made and set the laws defining the conscription issue.

Duplessis also found out that the gallant men and women of Quebec were already heading for Europe without a conscription call. A saner man might have realized at that point that he did not have the support of the people.

Duplessis continued his own dictatorial course of action. You will note that he appointed himself the provincial attorney general, and appointed friends in key positions such as finance.

It was because of these things that Duplessis was able to seize complete control of the case of Wilbert Coffin. He was the Premier and Attorney General, his good friend was Solicitor General, and he was able to personally direct his own choice of police officer to handle the case in the manner in which he decided.

Thanks again for your question, and I encourage questions and comments from anyone. All I ask is that the comments be topical, free from profanity, and signed by the author.

Lew Stoddard
Host Of "Stoddard Online"

R Bisonette said...

You would not dare to fall off the face of the earth. You have to bring this Coffin case to a successful conclusion as I am certain that you will from what I was told today. Great stuff that you got coming up. I was talking with someone in Gaspe who outlined a few things. Hang in there.

R Bisonette
Edmundston, N B

D Fenton said...

What a pile of crap that has been spread all these years on this case and it all started from a bunch of crooked cops and a corrupt judiciary headed by a corrupt leader, Maurice Duplessis.

Expose everyone of them for what they were, afterall, they hanged an innocent man.

D Fenton
Montreal

Roger Dion said...

Speaking of crap, I just read some of the junk on this site by this guy Fortin. He s preaching the same gospel that the Burkett and Ford jeep was what Wilbert Coffin saw. Wilbert Coffin never said any such thing. The cops twisted that. I read the transcripts myself. Fortin preaches that as the truth. This guy is a lawyer???? Makes one wonder if they were handing out law degrees as prizes in "Cracker Jack" boxes at one point.

Roger Dion
Quebec

Winnie Mazur said...

Thank you for remembering the war vets on this day. That was very special of you. God bless you Mr. Stoddard.

Winnie Mazur
Edmonton

Laureen C said...

Each time that I read your various postings I am impressed with your direct style of writing and your overall approach. Your last posting is no exception as you expressed it very well.

I have been reviewing all your writings recently on the Wilbert Coffin case. It is very convincing and should be considered in depth. I like the way that you back everything up with documentation. I work in a major legal office in Vancouver, and I can tell you the documentation speaks volumes when attempting to put things into perspective.

I am sending you a separate e-mail with a phone number etc. should you require some additional advice. Please feel free to contact me.

Laureen C
Burnaby

Gwen Lambert said...

Mr. Stoddard, I just took a look at this other guy's website, Fortin is his name. They appear to watch your website with great interest. I have noticed this in the past and today they make mention of the fact that you are back again. They seem very interested in what you write. Seems odd, very strange. I thought he was the one who would have all the answers,he
sure talked that way in the past.

I have enjoyed all the results that you have brought forward. Good Remembrance Day stuff that you wrote by the way. Since you have been doing this I have been reading a lot about Duplesses and you are correct, he was a corrupt premier and yes I believe he was a dictator.

I was a teacher for many years in the past and had heard of some of this stuff about Duplessis, but of course in those days the resources were not around to be able to quickly reference things.

Gwen Lambert
Toronto

Adam C said...

As you have said in the past wrongful convictions are ugly and should never happen. I believe that is the case here in the Coffin affair and no amount of years passed makes it right. Please keep at this if you can.

Adam C
Trenton
Ontario

Brenda St. Arnaud said...

Ya I tend to agree with Gwen Lambert. After reading her comment I decided to take a look at Mr. Fortins site. Ms Lambert is quite correct as they seem to be obsessed on that site as to where you are, what you are doing and what you are writing about and when are you coming back.They appear to lack readers and commenters on that site and most of their commenters are posted with no author named. Hmmmm! makes one wonder?

I have commented on your site a couple of times and I must say you have an interesting site devoted to this cause.

Brenda St. Arnaud
Regina

Mr and Mrs H Hoffmann said...

Beautiful words from yourself Mr. Stoddard on Remembrance Day. You are a very caring man. God Bless you.

Mr and Mrs H Hoffmann
Toronto

(Our Son typed this as we dictated it to him. We are not experienced with typewriters and computers)