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It wasn’t a day of celebration, but a day of mourning


On Wednesday, July 1st once again the people of Canada, from every city, every town and every village, from every end of this great land to the other, it was Canada’s Birthday which we call “Canada Day”. Children and adults all come out to celebrate the Birthday of the greatest country on the planet, the country we call “Canada.” With the raising of the maple leaf up the pole by town and village dignitaries, and children waving miniature maple leafs, all happy to be part of this great land we call Canada.

As most of us know Newfoundlanders and Labradorians became Canadians in 1949, but for those of us who became Canadians through politics rather than birth, we too love this “great land” just the same as those who are born Canadians.
But for those of us who can remember when we weren’t Canadians, we remember very well July 1st. It wasn’t a day of celebration, but a day of mourning when on this day, the Union Jack was lowered at half mast in remembrance of that terrible day, when at Beaumont Hamel, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were led like “lambs to the slaughter,” when the golden sand on the sides of the St. John’s Road trench turned from golden to red, “not one foot of this dank sod but drank its surfeit of the blood of gallant men.” It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valor, and only failed because dead men can advance no further. The roll call on that terrible day before the battle was 1,002; after the battle, 68.
Francis Patey
St. Anthony
Author of ‘Veterans of the North’

As most of us know Newfoundlanders and Labradorians became Canadians in 1949, but for those of us who became Canadians through politics rather than birth, we too love this “great land” just the same as those who are born Canadians.
But for those of us who can remember when we weren’t Canadians, we remember very well July 1st. It wasn’t a day of celebration, but a day of mourning when on this day, the Union Jack was lowered at half mast in remembrance of that terrible day, when at Beaumont Hamel, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were led like “lambs to the slaughter,” when the golden sand on the sides of the St. John’s Road trench turned from golden to red, “not one foot of this dank sod but drank its surfeit of the blood of gallant men.” It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valor, and only failed because dead men can advance no further. The roll call on that terrible day before the battle was 1,002; after the battle, 68.
Francis Patey
St. Anthony
Author of ‘Veterans of the North’

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