We are honoured to have been invited to lay a wreathe to represent the animals in war at the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Coboconk on Saturday, November 11th at 10:50 at the Royal Canadian Legion. Luncheon is being hosted afterwards. All are invited.
On Sunday November 5th the HSKL laid a wreathe in Burnt River at the ceremony. A lovely dedication from Lawrence E. Barker the Chaplain-Padre - Royal Canadian Legion Branch 519 Coboconk honoured animals by his gentle words...
"Over the past several years, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society created a series of commemorative lapel pins to remember animals who served in war. The range of designs, consisting of a stylized gold looped ribbon, had the silhouette of the head of a cat, dog, horse and pigeon on one end. The message was simple, “For all who have served … we honour the courageous veterans who have served our country and the animals who stood by their sides.”
The purple poppy beneath the red poppy, is also a symbol of remembrance for animals that served during wartime. These animals, be it a carrier pigeon, horse, mule, pony, donkey, elephant, or a dog, are not “hero” like our veterans, but victims of war – they had no choice. The Animals in War memorial in London is dedicated to all animals that served and died alongside British and allied forces in wars and campaigns throughout time.
Our own Canadian Animals in War memorial in Ottawa similarly commemorates all animals used by the Canadian military in conflicts since the Second South African (Boer) War, the first conflict after Canada became a nation.
According to some estimates, over 16 million animals served in the First World War alone with eight million horses, donkeys, and mules dying while pulling wagons of supplies, artillery and field guns, transporting troops, pulling field ambulances of the wounded, as well as mounted cavalry, to name just a few tasks.
Camels and horses were used in desert campaigns to carry food, water, ammunition, medical supplies as well as transporting the wounded, and as a form of mounted cavalry.
Canaries were used to detect poisonous gas, a curse of the First World War trench warfare.Pigeons delivered critical messages long before our modern technology of mobile phones, tablets and the internet.
Dogs served as messengers, medical assistants on the battlefield with backpacks of medical supplies for the wounded, they acted as bomb detectors and search and rescue workers, and of course were also companions to those serving in harsh conditions.
Cats and dogs also served to keep ships and the trenches free of rats and other vermin which could spread disease among the troops.
Even elephants and oxen could be trained as mounts or for moving heavy loads.
Military service dogs were used by some nations as recently as Afghanistan.
We pause and remember the men and women, as well as all of God’s creatures, who in the name of peace, served as well as paid the ultimate sacrifice, be it in Canada or on foreign shores."