Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Canada's Incredible Response to 9/11/01

It was Tuesday, September 11, 2001 when a Delta flight was 5 hours into its journey from Frankfurt, Germany en route to United States (Atlanta).  Nazim, a crew member was contacted by the Captain of the jet with this message:  All airways over the Continental United States are closed. Land ASAP at the nearest airport; advise your destination!

Seventeen different locations in Canada accepted International flights...due to US clearing air space.  Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick received the most concentrated share of these flights.

Nazim reported the following to an Air Canada crew friend:  53 airplanes from all over the world landed at Gander, Newfoundland (27 jetliners were flying US flags).  While waiting to disembark on the tarmac, Gander personnel had promised us all medical attention, water and lavatory services.  And they all lived up to their word!

The town of Gander has a population of 10,400.  Red Cross told us that they were going to process 10,500 passengers the next day from all the airplanes that were forced to land at Gander.  A convoy of school buses showed up at the side of our airplane next morning.  The stairway was hooked up and the passengers taken to the terminal for processing. 

We found out that Gander and the surrounding small communities within a 75 kilometer radius had closed all the High Schools...meeting halls...lodges...and other large gathering places.  They converted all these facilities to a main lodging area.  All the High School students  HAD TO VOLUNTEER taking care of the passenger GUESTS! 

“Operation Yellow Ribbon” handled 255 civilian aircraft diverting  them to 17 different airports from Canada’s east coast to the west coast…including Labrador (north of Newfoundland).  Halifax, Nova Scotia accepted 40 planes carrying 8,000 passengers; employees worked round the clock to assist them.  Several planes from Asia landed at Vancouver, a city of over 2,000,000 population on the west coast of British Columbia.  Travellers at these airports were stranded for days.

September 11, 2001 was the Day of the Terrorist Attacks
on the World Trade Center Towers in New York City
and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

This act occurred on a sunny Tuesday morning.  This is a day the Americans will remember for the rest of their lives. This is the day Americans should remember Canada's Incredible Response! Many experiences can be told that affected personal lives...a few which I shall relay throughout the remainder of this writing.

The Huffington Post ~ September 11, 2011

Canada Remembers 9/11 Attacks! 
Gander, Newfoundland Praised For Taking In Stranded Strangers! 

The Canadian Press:  Gander, Newfoundland ~ It was an open-hearted bear hug from an act of faith that restored hope in humankind for passengers stranded 10 years ago on 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland.  Several grateful travellers whose planes were diverted to this central town, returned Sunday for an emotional memorial service as similar events took place across the country.  They wanted to thank Newfoundlanders and other Canadians who answered the terrorist attacks on the United States, not with fear or suspicion, but with kindness for strangers.

"It is something that I haven't found any place else...and I've travelled the world," Elaine Caiazzo of  Bethage, N.Y. said of the welcome she found in Gander.  "The people were so kind to us.  There was nothing that we had to do for ourselves.  Everybody kept asking, 'What can we do for  you?'"  Beside her at the Gander memorial service was Jenny Asmussen, also of Bethage and another returning passenger.  Asmussen was an employee at  Manhattan investment firm two blocks from the World Trace Center towers when the planes struck.  "I knew a  lot of people who died there.  It just hurts me when I think about it."

At the Gander memorial service, U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson said,"There was no way of knowing whether those planes had terrorists aboard.  You did not flinch.  You took the planes.   You took the risk.  You welcomed all.  The same was true across the rest of Canada.  You affirmed our faith in the goodness of people.  You were the best of us."

Residents here and in nearby Gambo, Lewisporte and other towns welcomed strangers into their homes.  Prescriptions were filled without charge...and schools and church halls became shelters.

"Good can outfight evil every time,"  Gander Mayor Claude Elliott said during the memorial service.  Human kindness and love and compassion are what our world is lacking today.  We need more of it!"

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale said, "It was an honour to  help.  People like us around the world...wanted nothing more than to show our allegiance and our appreciation for the people of the United States in that time of tragedy," she said.  "We remain proud to have helped  you during your difficult time and proud you have become our friends. ~ we who share an extraordinary bond."

Many Newfoundlanders wonder what all the fuss is about.  On a tiny island in the fierce Atlantic, being a good neighbour was often a matter of survival.
"For the best part, we are very giving people and we tend to help each other without  thinking twice," said Gander volunteer Beulah Cooper, 70.  She took 3 stranded passengers into her home and offered showers to several others when she wasn't helping at a makeshift shelter in the local Royal Canadian Legion Hall.  One of those travellers was Monica Burke, a 911 dispatcher from Seattle who returned for the memorial service.  "People do think it is a special thing  and people want to let them know that we do remember it and we do appreciate it,"  she said in an interview.  "And though they might not think it's special...we do!"

In Ottawa, an open-air concert "of hope and remembrance" began at precisely 8:46 AM ... the moment the first plane hit the first World Trade Center tower.  Several hundred attended, including Jean Chretian, who was Prime Minister when the attacks occurred 10 years earlier.  After the concert, Chretien recalled how 100,000 Canadians turned out on  Parliament Hill to express their solidarity with Americans in the days immediately following 9/11.  Chretien said, "One of the most moving times of my life was the total silence that followed his request  for ...3 minutes of silence...people praying in their own faith for the American people."

Prime Minister, Stephen Harper who was in New York to attend anniversary events at Ground Zero, formally designated September 11 as a national day of service to pay tribute to 9/11 victims and volunteers.  Memorial events were also held in Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and other communities across the country.

In Montreal, Quebec, Premier Jean Charest unveiled a plaque at the city's center for International Trade.  "We need to look ahead now.  I think, with a renewed determination for tolerance and peace and openness if we want to avoid this kind of thing happening again," said Charest.

U.S. President Barack Obama sent a letter to Harper last week thanking Canadians for their help, saying,  "Canada showed itself to be a true friend during one of the darkest moments in U.S. history."  Obama paid special tribute to the residents of Gander.  "We remember with gratitude and affection how the people of Canada offered us the comfort of friendship and extraordinary assistance that day and in the following days  by opening their airports...their homes...and their hearts," Obama wrote. the Foregoing Canadian Press Article

"Why isn't this article  in the US version of HuffPo?"  Canadians already know what incredible hospitality and assistance was offered to US planes and their passengers on that day.  It's US citizens that need to be told about this."

"I ask that you not take this the wrong way.  But I lived in United States for 23 years  while serving in their military...and you know what they think of Canada?  They Don't."

"The fact that Canada does not rip off its citizens for their  health care, speaks volumes for its people.  They speak the same language, share the same religions and are our neighbours.  We allow  them to live here 6 months of the year to get away from the Canadian cold...they express their hospitality  to us during a crisis.  They rose to the occasion quietly and with dignity and asked for nothing in return.  We should all have neighbours like that." 

Grant, in Calgary, Alberta, wrote, "That really was a job well done, Gander!  You made us all proud to be Canadians. 
(and there were many more comments)

Appleton, Newfoundland to Mark 12 Years Since 9/11 Attacks
 (Sept. 11/2013)

The only annual 9/11 memorial service in the province will take place Wednesday morning in a small central Newfoundland town.  As part of the year's ceremony, Appleton will dedicate  a seven-metre-long piece of steel from the World Trade Center in New York City that was donated to the community.  The event will take place at Appleton Peace Park on the shore of the Gander River.  the Park was paid for by donations  from grateful airline passengers  who were stranded in the community 12 years ago.

(All flights in American airspace  were grounded  after hijacked airplanes slammed into the Twin Towers, a field in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon in Washington.)

About 100 people from 14 countries ended up in Appleton.  Mayor Derm Flynn said the town recently installed the heavy twisted  beam from the Twin Towers in the park.  "You get almost an eerie feeling  when you look at it and realize what kind of a heavy attack or heavy disaster would twist or turn a piece of steel like's almost like a twist and turned like a stylized 'S' or a wave on the ocean."

Flynn said Wednesday's service will be as much for the community volunteers who looked after the stranded it is to mark  the tragedy.  U.S. Consul, Richard Riley will be in Appleton for the ceremony.

"The Day the World Came to Town"
(Author Jim DeFede)

For the better part of a week, nearly every man, woman and child
 in Gander and the surrounding  smaller towns...stopped what they were doing they could help.  They placed their lives on hold...
for a group of strangers and asked nothing in return.
(Excerpt from his introductory words)

Information Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr ... November 20, 2013
Comments welcome...scroll down...may  sign in as "anonymous"

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ultimate Canadian Geography Quiz

How often do you, when in waiting room of doctor, dentist, barbershop, lawyer, business office or salon, pick up a magazine to glance through to sort of 'kill the waiting time'?  Yesterday, when in the laundry room of our Senior's residence, I waited for the washers to do their job and the dryers to spin with scented fabric softener sheets and warmth.  On the folding table were several of which was an October 2013 issue of Canadian Geographic...always of interest to me to read!  Inserted in the magazine were “60 Questions designed to truly test your geo IQ.”  Must confess that I was only able to answer a few of them correctly.  For your appeal I test you with 21 Questions of those given to me…answers I place at the end which may increase your interest and knowledge of our great country.

From treasure maps to smart phone apps, geography makes sense of our world by describing locations, patterns and relationships of the Earth's natural and social systems ~ both past and present.  Canadian Geographic's editors and with the help of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and other experts compiled this ultimate Canadian geography quiz to truly test you.

Land and Sea: Nova Scotia is made up of at least four ancient continents.  True or False?

What is the largest fresh water island in the world?

Canada has the world's longest coastline. In fact, it has about 25% of all coastline on Earth. How long is it in kilometres?   40,075.....54,716.....243,792.....384,403

Is Hamilton, Ontario closer to the North Pole or the Equator?

Landmarks: The world’s longest covered bridge is in Canada.  Where?

Called TURCOTT’S FOLLY by some, this roughly 9-metre-tall Northern Ontario roadside attraction cost $4,000 when it was created in 1960.  What is it?

Name the three waterfalls at Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Nature: Name the only species of the deer family in which the females have antlers.

What bird makes the longest animal migration in the world?

Weather:   In which Province or Territory is Canada’s driest place?

In what Province do students lose the most time due to stormy winter weather?

In campaigns to lure European immigrants to the West, the Canadian government in 1896 forbade the use of which of these words in official literature?  Winter…..Storms…..Bears…..Cold

Neighbours:  Which of the following countries is nearest to Canada’s landmass?  Mexico     Bahamas….Russia…..Norway

Since 1908, the International Boundary Commission has been responsible for keeping the Canada-U.S. border deforested.  What’s the width in metres of this tree-free strip?  0.5…..2…..6…..1,000

Places:  Which Province has the greatest population density?

The only golf club in North America that does not allow male members, is in what town or city?

History:  What was once known as The Medicine Line?

What was officially opened at Rogers Pass, British Columbia on September 3, 1962?

What was Kitchener, Ontario called prior to the First World War?  Hanover…..Berlin…..Innsbruck

Which Province was the first to grant women the right to vote?

What name did the Vikings give to Newfoundland (and technically speaking, to all of North America)?

     * * * * * * * * *

News Flash…from my Corner of the World
(at least ‘news’ to me)

Canada’s Newest National Park is Sable Island.  This 41 kilometre long island (off the coast of Nova  Scotia in rough Atlantic Ocean waters) is home to some of Canada’s most unique wildlife…including feral Sable Island horses.  Board the 118 passenger Sea Adventure to view Sable Island National Park.  Be one of the first to venture to this Canadian Maritime treasure.  Visit for prices and itinerary.

Answers to 21 Question Quiz:
Land and Sea:    True…..Manitoulin Island, Ontario…..243,792 km…..the Equator by roughly 215 km.
Landmarks:     Hartland, New Brunswick
                       The Wawa Goose
              Only the Horseshoe Falls on the right is soley in Ontario, Canada. The American Falls and Bridal  Falls are in New York State, U.S.
Nature:     Caribou…..Arctic Tern
Weather:    Nunavut…..Prince Edward Island…..Cold
Neighbours:     Norway…..6 metres
Places:     Prince Edward Island…..Toronto (Ladies Golf Club of Toronto)
History:     The 49th Parallel…..The Trans-Canada Highway…...Berlin…..Manitoba…..Vinland

Sunniva Sorby…Outdoor adventurer and youth advocate states:
I am a firm believer that geography and our understanding
of other  people , rituals, places and cultures
breed respect for our differences.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr…October 22, 2013
To comment…scroll down…may sign in as ‘anonymous”
or e-mail…

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"I Believe"

 Gracious thanks I extend to Tom who sent me this pictorially presented article with introductory photos to illustrate the inspirational messages given to us.

A Birth Certificate shows that we were born.
A Death Certificate shows that we died.
Pictures show that we lived.

Scene:  A peaceful bay with shimmering lights across its waters at sunrise.  
I Believe ~ that if two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other and just because they disagree...they do love each other.

Scene:  A colouful rainbow spans across a valley...a lone man sits on a rock outcropping. 
I Believe ~ that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

Scene:  A misty fog shrouds amber-hued shoreline reeds and far fields.
I Believe ~ that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.     
I Believe ~ that true friendship continues to grow even over long distance.. same goes for true love.

Scene:  Gorgeous mountain scenery with tall dark evergreens reflected in serene lake waters.
I Believe ~ you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I Believe ~ that it's taking me a long time to be the person I want to be.

Scene:  Peaceful woodland and lush green grass bordering a rippling blue pond.  
I Believe ~ that you should leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them. 
I Believe ~ that you can keep going long after you think you can't.

Scene:  Autumn trees baring their branches; their trunks and limbs reflected late evening in a pool.
I Believe ~ that we are responsible for what we matter how we feel. 
I Believe ~ that either you control your attitude...or it controls you.

Scene:  Setting sun blazes across rugged landscape as a massive white cloud descends to the horizon.
I Believe ~ that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done regardless of the consequences.

Scene:  Sunrise with casting rays, rise into the sky reflecting dark hillsides across a placid lake.
I Believe ~ that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing...and have the best time.

I Believe ~ that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you are down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

Scene:  Woodlands dressed in autumn's Jack Frost's colours.
I Believe ~ that sometimes when I'm angry, I have the right to be angry.  But that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.
I Believe ~ that maturity has more to do with what type of experiences you've had and what you have learned from them...and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

Scene:  Brilliant rainbow arcs down to a barren rugged  landscape.
I Believe ~ that it isn't enough to be forgiven by others.  Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I Believe ~ that no matter how hard your heart is broken, the world doesn't stop for your grief.
I Believe ~ that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are; but we are responsible for who we became.

Scene:  Icy waterfall tumbling down to snow-covered boulders.
I Believe ~ that you shouldn't be eager to to find out secrets.  It could change your life forever.
I Believe ~ that if two people can look at the exact same scene, each will  see something totally different.
I Believe ~ that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't know you.

Scene:  A large red brick mansion nestled among trees and hills with winding walk over rustic bridge.
I Believe ~ that when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.   
I Believe ~ that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

Scene:  A woodland displaying new spring growth.
I Believe ~ that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe ~ that you should send this to all of the people you believe I just did.

Scene:  A stone bridge with curved arches across a quiet tree-lined-river stream.
I Believe The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything;
                They just make the most of everything they have.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Pearl of Wisdom
Friendship needs to work...just as a butterfly needs no song.
Just to feel its presence is beautiful.
(Marjolein renowned nature artist)

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr...October 20, 2013
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sermon at Iwo Jima Memorial...D.C.

The fight for Iwo Jima in 1945 was one of the bloodiest  of World War II.
A tiny island in the South Pacific dominated by a volcanic mountain and
pockmarked by caves, Iwo Jima was the setting for a five-week-nonstop
battle between 70,000 American Marines and an unknown number of
deeply entrenched Japanese defenders.

The courage and gallantry of the American forces, climaxed by the
dramatic raising of the flag over Mt. Suribachi, is memorialized
in the Marine Corps Monument in Washington, D.C. 
Less remembered however, is that the battle occasioned
an eloquent eulogy by a Marine Corps rabbi that became
an American classic.

The Chaplain at Iwo Jima

An interesting fact that many are unaware of is...
the  historic events that surrounded a Jewish chaplain
on Iwo Jima, where, 1500 were Jewish. 

Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn (1910-95) assigned to the Fifth Marine Division, was the first Jewish chaplain the Marine Corps ever appointed.  Rabbi Gittelsohn was in the thick of the fray, ministering to Marines of all faiths in the combat zone. He shared the fear, horror and despair of the fighting men, each of whom knew that each day might be their last. His tireless efforts to comfort the wounded and encourage the fearful won him three service ribbons. 

When the fighting was over, Division Chaplain Warren Cuthriell, a Protestant minister, he.asked Rabbi Gittelsohn to deliver the memorial sermon at a combined religious servicededicating  the Marine Cemetery.  Cuthriell wanted all the fallen Marines (black and white, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish) honoured in a single interdenominational ceremony. Unfortunately, racial and religious prejudice  was strong in the Marine Corpsas it was then throughout America. According to Rabbi Gittelsohn's autobiography, the majorityof Christian chaplains objected to having a rabbi preach over predominately Christian graves.  The Catholic chaplains, in keeping with church doctrine, opposed any form of joint religious service. 

To  his credit, Cuthriell refused to alter his plans.  Gittelsohn, on the other hand, wanted to save his friend Cuthriell, further embarrassment and so decided it was best not todeliver  his sermon.  Instead, three separate religious services were held.  At the Jewish serviceto a congregation of 70 or so who attended, Rabbi Gittelsohn delivered the powerful eulogy he originally wrote for the combined service. 

Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors, generations ago, helped in her founding.  And other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to  her blessed shores.  Here lie officers and men ... Negroes and Whites, Rich men and Poor together.  Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his colour.  Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed.  Among these men there is...
No discrimination!  No prejudices! No hatred! Theirs ... is the highest and purest democracy.

Whosoever of us lifts his hand in hate against a brother, or who thinks of himself superior to those who happen to be in the minority, makes of this ceremony and the bloody sacrifice it commemorates ... an empty, hollow mockery. To this then, as our solemn sacred duty, do we, the living, now dedicate ourselves: 
To the right of Protestants, Catholics and Jews,
of White  men and Negroes aliketo enjoy the democracy
for which all of  them have here paid the price. 

We here solemnly swear this shall not be in vain. Out of this, and from the suffering and sorrow  of those of  who mourn this, will come, we promise, the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere.    

Among the Gittelsohn's listeners were three  Protestant chaplains, so incensed by theprejudice voiced by their colleagues that they  boycotted their own service to attend Gittlesohn's. One of them borrowed the manuscript and, unknown to Gittelson, circulated several thousand copies to his regiment.  Some Marines enclosed the copies in letters to their families. 

An avalanche of coverage resulted.  Time magazine published excerpts, which wireservices spread even further. The entire sermon was inserted into the Congressional Record, the Army released the eulogy for short-wave broadcast to American troops throughout the world and radio commentator, Robert St. John read it on his program and on many succeeding  Memorial Days.

In 1995, in his last public appearance before his death, Gittelsohn reread a portionof the eulogy at the 50th commemoration ceremony at the Iwo Jima statue in Washington, D.C.  In his  autobiography, he reflected, “I have often wondered whether anyone would ever have heard of my Iwo Jima sermon,  had it not been for the bigoted attempt to ban it.”

(My grateful thanks to Sol, for sending me this eulogy
of such profound and National significance)

Of interest:   The Iwo Jima Memorial,
also known as the US Marine Corps War Monument,
honours the Marines who have died defending the US since 1775.
It is located near the Arlington Memorial Cemetery, VA.

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written December 16, 2011
Comments appreciated ... scroll down (may enter as “anonymous”)
or e-mail ...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Remembrance Day ... November 11, 2013

What Will You Contemplate?

(Excerpts from a writing by Paul Berton…
Editor-in-chief of The Hamilton Spectator)

When Hamiltonians gather at cenotaphs, at Legion Halls, at Community Centres, at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum or in the quiet solitude across the city to mark the event, what will we think about?  Each of us thinks of Remembrance Day differently.

Will Hamiltonians and Canadians think of their ancestors 
who served or current relatives and friends in the service?

Will we wonder why the killing persists almost a century 
after “the war to end all wars” ended and Remembrance Day was first recognized?

Will we think about war or peace?   
About Canadian soldiers at Vimy, Dieppe, Kapyong, Kosovo or Kandahar?

Will we think about winners and  losers?  Friends or enemies?  Life or death?

November be sure, is a time of
remembrance, reflections and appreciation.

Sack Lunches...A Good Samaritan Gesture

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat.  It was going to be a long flight.  “I'm glad I have a good book to read.  Perhaps I will get a short nap,” I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me.  I decided to start a conversation.

“Where are you headed?” I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.  “Petawawa.  We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan.”

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars.  It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask  his buddy if he planned to buy lunch.  “No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack  lunch.  Probably it wouldn't be worth five bucks.  I'll wait until I get to base.”  His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers.  None were buying lunch.  I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill.  “Take a  lunch to all those soldiers.”  She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly.  Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me.  “My son was a soldier in Iraq; its almost like you're doing it for him.”

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated.  She stopped at my seat  and asked, “Which do you like best ~ beef or chicken?”  “Chicken,” I replied, wondering why she asked.  She turned and went to the front of the plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.  “This is your thanks.”

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.  A man stopped me.  “I saw what you did.  I want to be part of it.  Here, take this.”  He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking for the aisle numbers as he walked.  I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane.  When he got to my row, he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, “I want to shake your hand.”  Quickly unfastening my seat belt, I stood and took the Captain's hand.  With a booming voice he said, “I was a soldier and I was a military pilot.  Once, someone bought me a lunch.  It was an act of kindness I never forgot.”  I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all the passengers.

Later, I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs.  A man who was seated about six rows in front of me, reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine.  He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed, I gathered my belongings  and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned and walked away without saying a word.  Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base.  I walked over to them and  handed them seventy-five dollars.  “It will take you some time to reach the base.  It will be about time for a sandwich.  God Bless You!”

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect  of their fellow  travelers.  As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return.  These soldiers were giving their all for our country.  I could only give them a couple meals.  It seemed so little!

(Author Unknown)

A Veteran is someone,
who at one point in his life, wrote a blank cheque
made payable to “The United States of America”
for an amount of “up to and including my life.”

That is Honour
and there are way too many people in this country
who no longer understand it … or even care!
(Author Unknown)

Merle Baird-Kerr...crafted February 17, 2013
To comment...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lest We Forget!

 This week prior to Remembrance Day is to honour Veterans together with all members  of the military forces aiding other countries and protecting our shores.  The media has been paying special tribute to these men and women; also, much material (including experiences ) has crossed my desk from ardent friends and readers...which I share with all.  Thank you , Tom for:

 Love and Peace in 2013

The article opens with the picture of our Canadian Flag.  Our symbolic Leaf in the center is bordered with two pictures on each side...a glorious sunset...a duck lazily paddling on cool waters...the Skylon Tower with the plummeting Niagara Falls...a fisherman casting his line in a misty shrouded river.
Did you know that the UCLU in United States has filed a suit to have all military cross-shaped headstones removed?  (American Civil Liberty Union).  And another suit to end prayer completely.  They're making great progress.  The Navy chaplains can no longer mention Jesus' name in prayer ~ thanks to the wretched ACLU and new administration. 
(The foregoing facts I have not confirmed.)

The next photo depicts Canadian military men carrying a flag-draped three other draped coffins in military fashion behind.  Our Canadian flag is at half-mast; shown also are the soldiers' helmets positioned in a line above their rifles. Military forces stand at ease with heads bowed as our flag ripples in the morning breeze...during this solemn ceremony. 
Pray for our soldiers in all forces:
Lord Jesus, hold our troops in your loving hands;
Protect they protect us;
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts
they perform for us in our time of need.
They died for us!  Can't we at least stand up for them?

The article closes with our prominent red and white Maple Leaf Flag
and beneath it, this quote:  These Colours Don't Run!

It Is The Veteran...
(Thank you, Sydney for sending me this several months ago)

                                         It is the VETERAN, not the preacher
                                         who has given us freedom of religion.

                                         It is the VETERAN, not the reporter
                                         who has given us freedom of the press.

                                          It is the VETERAN, not the poet
                                          who has given us freedom of speech.

                                          It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer
                                          who has given us freedom to assemble.

                                          It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer
                                          who has given us the right to a fair trial.

                                          It is the VETERAN, not the politicians                                      
                                          who has given us the right to vote.

                                          It is the VETERAN who salutes the Flag!
                                          It is the VETERAN who serves under the Flag!

Sage Words from Black Elk, a Native American:

The soldiers did go away...and their towns were torn down
and in the Moon of Falling Leaves (November)
they made a treaty with Red Cloud that said,
“Our country will be ours
as long as the grass should grow and water flow.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr … November 5, 2013
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Friday, November 1, 2013

Motivations & Smiles for November

(gleaned from my collection of Calendar Quotes)

Like fragile ice...anger passes away in time. (Ovid)

Teamwork:  “It takes two wings for a bird to fly.”  (Jesse Jackson)   Colour illustration of an eagle coasting on broad wings through a blue sky on a  wind draft.

Innocence:  When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”  (African Saying).  Illustration of two bull elephants facing each other on the grassy savannah.

Encouragement:  When a person is down in the ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching.”  (Edward G. Bulwar Lytton)  Illustration ~ a standing penguin with fins wrapped around another penguin friend.

Opportunity...may knock softly.  Be vigilant.  (Anonymous)  Illustration ~ three raccoons intently alert watching from their habitat.

By the time a woman realizes her mother was right, the daughter has a little girl who thinks she's wrong!  (Anonymous)  Illustration of this three-persons-generation enjoying a park.

From Marie's Motivational Calendar with Invitation to “Discover”
(Envision a sail boat with a tall mast and  a lone sailor
setting out into a misty sky and foggy horizon)
“The Voyage of Discovery is not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes.  (Marcel Proust)

Special Event Days

November 1 (Friday) ~ In Christianity, All Saints' Day commemorates all the saints in the church, both known and  unknown.  The first general observance was ordered by Pope Gregory IV in 837.  In medieval England, the festival was called...All Hallows...and its eve is still known as Hallowe'en.

November 2 (Saturday) ~ Birthdays for Jonathan (my grandson) and Rita (long time friend).

November 3 (Sunday) ~ Daylight Saving Time ends.  Remember  FALL Back ~ SPRING Forward.

November 11 (Monday) ~ Remembrance Day.  Nothing I can write will equal or supersede Colonel John McCrae's  poem written in 1918…
                                In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
                                Between the crosses, row upon row...
                                That mark our place; and in the sky
                                The larks, still bravely
                                Scarce heard amid guns below.

                                We're dead.  Short days ago ~
                                We lived...felt dawn...saw sunset glow...
                                Loved...and were loved...and now we lie
                                In Flanders Fields.

November 15 (Friday) ~ My son's birthday...another year younger!

November 17 (Sunday) ~ Full moon...opportune to gaze at the zillions of stars.

November 20 (Wednesday) ~ Sir Wilfrid Laurier Day (1841-1919). Born on this date, he was the 7th Prime Minister of Canada ruling  from July 11, 1896 to October 6, 1911.  He had the longest unbroken term of office of any Canadian Prime Minister...was also a member of the House of Commons for 45 years.  Considered one of the country's greatest statesman, he is renowned for his conciliation, expanding Confederation and compromise between French and English Canada.

November 21 (Thursday) ~ World Fisheries Day.   Did you know that about 80 million tonnes of fish and seafood are caught globally each year?  Fisheries make major contributions to fishing nations' economy...employing millions of people worldwide and feeding millions more.  This Day is a wake-up call to us, ensuring that fisheries are here tomorrow so that we can continue to sustain a way of life and provide a nutritional source of protein to us all.
FACT: Fish do some pretty amazing things to stay alive and prosper.  The Atlantic Blue Fin tuna (for e.g.) can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh over 1500 pounds.  This tuna has been known to cross the Atlantic Ocean in just over a month and swim at speeds comparable to some racehorses.  Salmon are also unique. They have a remarkable ability to find their way home when it is time to reproduce.  They'll battle strong currents and waterfalls to reach the exact place where they were hatched.

November 27 (Wednesday) ~ Hanakkah begins (Jewish)

November 28 (Thursday) ~  Thanksgiving Day (USA).
Consider this prayer written by Luther Cross:
                        Our Father, fill our hearts, we pray
                        With gratitude Thanksgiving Day;
                        For food and raiment, Thou dost give
                        That we in comfort here may live.

Reflection of November 30, 1962:  The 50th Grey Cup Football League Championship Game (known as the FOG BOWL) was played between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger Cats at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium near the Lake Ontario waterfront. 

Just prior to my father's November 8th birthday, Robert Nelson Clement died of a sudden massive heart attack at age 56.  My June wedding that same year was a truly happy event.  He bought a powder blue Buick Skylark ~ his pride and joy ~ to drive to the Hamilton ceremony as parents of the bride.  No one drove his car except him!.Rather than his Skylark sit in my mother’s driveway all winter, we agreed that I'd drive it from Brantford to our home on Hamilton Mountain. In the Spring, she would decide to either…take driving lessons or sell it. 

On that November 30th day, my  husband and I drove to her home to retrieve the Buick.  Very carefully I drove it along Highway 53.  At the intersection of Highway 2 (going into Ancaster), I continued on 53.  A HUGE FOG rolled in like the thickness of an eiderdown blanket!  Visibility was almost nil.  With my window down, I barely could see the center line.  The sports announcer on my car radio stated  that a thick fog had started to roll onto the playing field (cold moist, humid air from Lake Ontario.)  With 9 minutes and 29 seconds left in the 4th quarter, the game was suspended and continued the next day to its completion.  Today, it remains the only Grey Cup Game be suspended  during play.  The Blue Bombers defeated our Tiger Cats the “Fog Bowl”.  It was considered one of the best Grey Cup games of all time.

Did You Know?

There are a number of ways you can save on your power bill this winter.
Look for an 'Energy Star' certification when buying new appliances.
Switch to LED lights or compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Turn off lights when not in use.

    November's Nature Bird

The Blue Jay is about 30 cm in length from the tip of its bill to the tip of its tail...with a blue back, crest, wings and tail...and other distinctive black and white markings.  The crest, an elongated crown of
feathers found in many jays, can be raised or lowered according to the bird's mood.  In moments of high excitement or aggression, the crest may be fully raised forming a prominent peak.

November Musings

November comes
And November goes
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early
And dawn coming late
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing
And Earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

(Elizabeth Coatsworth)

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr ... November 1, 2013
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