Thursday November 11th is not just a statutory holiday. It is a day to pause and reflect. Sometimes what we need to ponder is literally in front of our faces.
That was apparent to me today when I went to put a water bottle away. It’s a high profile stance that is evident in any Saskatoon household where their teams have won the league (we have several). But then I wonder how many people know who it is.
It is also highlighted on the Saskatoon Adult Soccer Association website where they pay tribute to Sargeant Hugh Cairns and other “footballers” (as they were known then). They state that it is the only War Memorial specifically dedicated to soccer players anywhere in the world. Which is weird in a city that young without an established league back then.
Perhaps that speaks to the qualities of the man. He only lived in Saskatoon for 4 years before he left for the war but his impact lives on in many ways. I often wonder about his family’s history here in Saskatoon. His war years story can be found here at Hugh Cairns VC.
I ponder now, how many people will drive or walk by his statue in Kinsmen Park and note that he has a fresh cross with a poppy. Will it make them take notice and think about what they just saw? About who he is and about his ultimate sacrifice?
What local hero do you know the story of? Perhaps an ancestor? The stories need to live on so please feel free to share so that we can all remember their sacrifices.
If you are looking for more Saskatchewan stories about our Victoria Cross recipients follow the link here at The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan victoria_cross_saskatchewan_recipients
Although the stories we should be reading and sharing today are those of the many Indigenous communities who members, disproportionately, have served our country for 150 years. In 1996 today was declared National Indigenous Veterans Day but like many new national holidays it hasn’t really taken off yet. Which I briefly touched on here in We are all “you people”