Cover, Nov 11, 2011

Story: Darcy Grant

Through the first and second World Wars, the Korean conflict and Vietnam, great songs were written and recorded supporting our troops in their epic battles. All of these aided in the memory of the fated soldiers whose lives were lost in these wars. Now with the Middle East wars being fought, we are responsible for making sure the people of today’s world are reminded to remember those who have fought and died in the 21st century wars.

Fortunately, Canada’s songwriters have continued to write songs showing their appreciation and love for the current men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Some notable songs to check out, Terry Sumsion’s Highway of Heroes, Aaron Lines’ poignant Somebody’s Son, Dean Brody’s moving Brothers, Don Graham’s thought provoking Heart of a Hero, Julian Austin’s patriotic The Red and White, Terry Kelly’s A Pittance of Time and Jon Patterson’s emotive Hero, are shining examples.

A couple of Septembers ago a number of well known Canadian artists took to the recording studio during Canadian Country Music Week for a good cause - to donate their time and voices to the benefit single Standing Strong and True (For Tomorrow).  The song was written by Ron Irving, Lynda McKillip and Tom McKillip, and brings together some of Country music's finest talents. Some of the more notable artists on this venture included Aaron Pritchett, Beverley Mahood, Chad Brownlee, Chris Thorsteinson (Doc Walker), Diane Chase, Jamie Warren, Michelle Wright and Terri Clark, to name a few.

And that’s just the country market. Michael Buble recorded I’ll Be Seeing You, a World War Two song but fitting for the current wars. In a similar vein there’s Bryan Adams’ Remembrance Day.
Songs have always been and most likely always will be a practical way of honouring events of the past. A way to immortalize our heroes. So God bless the fallen and God bless the writers who remember them in their work.

Canadian soldier Colonel John McCrae wrote his famous In Flanders Fields poem and it was published in Punch magazine anonymously in 1915, but in the index it named McCrae as the author. It is of course now a famous piece of work but I can’t help wondering if McCrae had written generations later what would it have become. I have a feeling it would been put to music and become even more ingrained in our psyches than it is now. When McCrae wrote those famous words Lest We Forget I’m not sure he realized how impactful those words would all these decades later.

As long as there is music on the radio, television, Internet and recordings, we in Canada, The Truth North Strong and Free, will never forget.

Editors Note: Please wear your poppy on November 11  – May We Never Forget.