'Breaking of the Sword' statue — Canadian Vimy Memorial. (Source: tango7174)
Canadians have been coined an "unmilitary people". They have certainly been blessed having never experienced war at home. But Canada's reluctance to wage war as a solution to political conflict has been readily tested in the last century. When repression looms in some distant corner of the world, the young nation has sent her sons and daughters to meet these challenges, with force, when necessary.
Canadians have been strong Allies with the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, but unlike our Allies we are not a colonial power and do not have any colonial or financial agenda once the mission is completed. When our "way of life" is threatened, or some wayward tyrant starts to throw his weight around, we volunteer, roll up our sleeves, pitch in, defeat the tyranny. And once the job is done, we go home to our families. We don't sit at the table and ask for a piece of pie. And we don't much talk about what we've accomplished.
As the title "Maple Leaf Up" suggests, the simple intention of this website and multi-media project is to shine a few lights into the little-discussed corners of history and promote the contributions of a small country that punches above its weight in its determination to sustain a just and peaceful world community.
The Face of the Project
Those that have had horrible moments during the war don’t want to speak about it and I think basically we should. Because it’s information that everybody has to hear. And I always preached from the time that I got out that if you don’t know anything about it, well it is our responsibility that we should tell people.
Tank Squadron Commander
Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment
Our friend Rad is a great inspiration for this project and his statement above reflects our purpose and vision. Through our website, we want to create a home where Canadian WW2 Army veterans can share the horrors and experiences of war. It's a place to let veterans tell their own stories, while we sit cross-legged on the floor and listen. Their stories will reveal how ordinary men and women lived through extraordinary times.
Our Great War veterans are now gone and one day our Second War vets will be silenced. We want to perpetuate their stories and pass on the egregious notion of war to younger generations. We will also highlight the little-known and uncelebrated historical role Canada has played in shaping modern Europe, and western civilization, through our unflagging battles against persecution, and our relentless search for concord and lasting peace.
That may sound lofty, but there are 100,000 Canadians buried in Europe to put forward as evidence of that noble endeavour.
This website will promote awareness of the 1st Canadian Army and its contribution to the ground war in Northwest Europe from D-Day to VE Day by highlighting the endeavours of individuals who took part in the defeat of Nazism. Sure, we'll make forays into other Canadian actions — campaigns against Fascist Italy and Militaristic Japan, campaigns on the Western Front, campaigns in Korea — but our main focus is the 1st Canadian Army as a crucial entity of the Allies in WW2.
The web-mag will sometimes depart from the military realm to delve into cultural history as well, promoting the various incarnations of the maple leaf as a proud icon of a quietly proud nation throughout history.
We hope this exploration is not just for Canadians, but promotes Canada's actions to the rest of the world as well. What Canadians and other global citizens have in common is that both know little if anything about Canadian history. We shouldn't be surprised. Canadians live in a privileged land that has never been ravaged by war; nor its citizens shackled by tyranny or muzzled by bullies. There is little pause for reflection when you are so fortunate, especially when your veterans return from witnessing such horrors and don't talk about them.
Walk the path to "Canadian-ness" with us as we say "yes, we were there and this is what we did!" Maple Leaf Up!
If you have any observations, comments, insights, or see any errata or typos, please Contact Us.