Vimy Ridge – Family Roots

Recently the City of Winnipeg undertook the task of restoring the war memorial at Vimy Ridge Park. I applaud the Mayor, all of the city councillors, and the city for doing this. It is important to remember the sacrifices that our armed forces have made in the past and what they symbolize to us in present day. It is crucial that future generations understand the sacrifices that these brave individuals made and why.

The war memorial represents a snapshot of my family history. It reminds me of my grandfather, Michael, who served in the First Canadian Army Division during WWII in the unit known as the Little Black Devils. He served as part of the mechanic corps, who were in charge of collecting the dead. Although I was fairly young when Grandfather passed away, I have wonderful memories of his love of instruments, and of music filling the house with laughter and joy. He was a dedicated family man and mechanic in White Rose. Only 59 when he left us, my grandfather, like all of our beloved fallen veterans, remains alive in our hearts and hopes for the future.

My grandmother, Germaine, was also quite active in the wartime effort. She was part of many organizations including the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAFS). She organized many of the international reunions as well as being involved in the association dedicated to remembering the role that women played in the first and second world wars. Gerry had training in photography and eventually took her skills to the field after the war. She was a brave and progressive woman being active in the Red River Co-op board of directors during a time when it was not common to find women on such boards.

When I am elected city councillor I promise to support efforts to honour and recognize the sacrifices that our citizens have made to protect our country. Lest we forget.