What We Do

Honoring the sacred sentiment of Remembrance,
while serving, promoting and acting

2019 – 2020 Youth Remembrance Contest

Congratulations to the 2019-2020 BC/Yukon Poster and Literary Contest Winners!

BC/Yukon students created fantastic posters, essays and poems that express what Remembrance means to them and their country.

2019-2020 BC/Yukon Command Youth Remembrance Contest Winners

Senior B&W Poster Senior Essay
First Shaelyn Lorensen 265 Aldergrove First Sara Englund 94 Quesnel
Second Anais Zeller 6 Cloverdale Second Joanna Waite 49 Mt. Arrowsmith
Third Kassidy Vanoene 265 Aldergrove Third Rena Su 229 Whalley
Intermediate B&W Poster Intermediate Essay
First Yuen Ting Tommy Chan 118 North Vancouver First Gomathi Parthasarathy 8 White Rock
Second Naomi Issel 11 Trail Second Linnea Wiggers 256 Mount Benson
Third Amy Fuchs 49 Mt. Arrowsmith Third Juliana Bell 52 Kamloops
Junior B&W Poster Junior Essay
First Caleb Yu 265 Aldergrove First Corban Moyah 50 Burns Lake
Second Greyson Robertson 53 Cowichan Second Bella Campbell 257 Seaview Centennial
Third Kayiah Ceria 17 Courtenay Third Peyton Manzuik 189 Oyama
Primary B&W Poster Senior Poem
First Pieru Brian Chen 240 Crescent First Abigail McIlravey 194 Clinton
Second Vaneet Chatha 265 Aldergrove Second Liana-Khim Dy 291 Richmond
Third Eden Stevens 11 Trail Third Clara Gill 274 Fraser Lake
Senior Colour Poster Intermediate Poem
First Anggun Rabu 6 Cloverdale First Thunya Dudley 49 Mt. Arrowsmith
Second Sabine Fedder 142 West Point Grey Second Gwen Jaskiewicz 88 Maple Ridge
Third Isabelle Jarman 32 Agassiz Third Danica Maynard 173 K. Knudston
Intermediate Colour Poster Junior Poem
First Vickie Wang 142 West Point Grey First Delaney Michaud 266 Valemount
Second Laura Li 263 Coquitlam Second Zach du Preez 109 Gibsons
Third Olivia Jung 60 West Vancouver Third Isabelle Song 142 West Point Grey
Junior Colour Poster Primary Colour Poster
First Alice (Seowoo) Jeon 60 West Vancouver First Rachel Zhou 8 White Rock
Second Ava Marino 257 Seaview Centennial Second Melody Laporte 170 Castlegar
Third Daisy Sun 142 West Point Grey Third Benjamin Oickle 91 Prince Edward

Video Contest Winners

First Place
Daniel Losso-Kiss, Grade 8, Kelowna

Second Place
Nolan Smith, Grade 10, Maple Ridge

Third Place
Aaliyah Mahoubi, Grade 11, North Vancouver

Poster Winners

Shaelyn Lorenson – Aldergrove,
BC – Branch #265
First Place Senior Black and White Poster Winner

Anais Zeller
Surrey, BC – Branch #6

Second Place Senior Black and White Poster Winner

Kassidy Vanoene
Aldergrove, BC – Branch #265

Third Place Senior Black and White Poster Winner

Anggun Ragu
Cloverdale, BC – Branch #6

First Place Senior Colour Poster Winner

Sabine Fedder
Vancouver, BC – Branch #142

Second Place Senior Colour Poster Winner

Isabelle Jarman
Agassiz, BC – Branch #32

Third Place Senior Colour Poster Winner

Tammy Chen (Yuen Ting)
North Vancouver, BC – Branch #118

First Place Intermediate Black and White Poster Winner

Naomi Issel
Trail, BC – Branch #11

Second Place Intermediate Black and White Poster Winner

Amy Fuchs
Mt.Arrowsmith, BC – Branch #49

Third Place Intermediate Black and White Poster Winner

Vickie Wang
Vancouver, BC – Branch #142

First Place Intermediate Colour Poster Winner

Laura Li, Coquitlam
BC – Branch #263

Second Place Intermediate Colour Poster Winner

Olivia Jung, West Vancouver
BC – Branch #60

Third Place Intermediate Colour Poster Winner

Caleb Yu, Aldergrove
BC – Branch #265

First Place Junior Black and White Poster Winner

Greyson Robertson
Aldergrove, BC – Branch #53

Second Place Junior Black and White Poster Winner

Kayiah Ceria, Courtenay
BC – Branch #17

Third Place Junior Black and White Poster Winner

Alice Jean
West Vancouver, BC – Branch #60

First Place Junior Colour Poster Winner

Ava Marino
Lantzville, BC – Branch #257

Second Place Junior Colour Poster Winner

Daisy Sun
Vancouver, BC – Branch #142

Third Place Junior Colour Poster Winner

Peiru Brian
Chen Surrey, BC – Branch #240

First Place Primary Black and White Poster Winner

Vaneet Chatha
Aldergrove, BC – Branch #265

Second Place Primary Black and White Poster Winner

Eden Stevens
Trail, BC – Branch #11

Third Place Primary Black and White Poster Winner

Rachel Zhou
White Rock, BC – Branch #8

First Place Primary Colour Poster Winner

Melody Laporte
Castlegar, BC – Branch #170

Second Place Primary Colour Poster Winner

Benjamin Oickle
Langford, BC – Branch #91

Third Place Primary Colour Poster Winner

Poetry Winners

Abigail McIlravey
Clinton, BC – Branch 194

First Place Senior Poetry Winner

Silver Cross Mother

I stand here in silence, tears running wild
You were my love, my son, my only child

The courage you had, you brave heroic man
You were a saviour for those within Afghanistan

That day with the bullets, when you gave it your all
You saved so many children, them above all

Life is a gift, and you gave yours away
You sacrificed everything, in just one short day

I reflect on your life, I am so pleased
You are remembered here, it puts me at ease

My son, it breaks my heart to miss you all the time
You and your smile, they said you were my mime

To never be forgotten, that is what you deserve
You will always be honoured, for the time that you served

They have chosen me, to compensate our loss,
For you, I get to lay the wreath of the Silver Cross

So now I stand here in silence, tears running wild
You were my love, my son, my only child

Liana-Khim Dy
Richmond, BC – Branch #291

Second Place Senior Poetry Winner


They called it a Great War.
And like a magpie he was immediately swept up in their promises of Shiny fame and jewels of honour
And like a magpie he flitted away with three friends to join his flock
And he promised to write every single day
And he promised not to get hurt
And he promised to come home.

They say that promises are easy to remember but hard to keep.
I check the post every day
I listen to the women gossip in the factory
Tales of terrors are whispered about as I work and
There has been nothing in the mail for a week
Two weeks.
Three weeks.
I receive a letter in the mail.

They called it bravery.
They called it honour.
They called it sacrifice.
And I wondered
How many more would have to suffer
Before they call it by its proper name?
After all.
Death is Death.

He comes home
Five weeks later
Having kept his promise
Just not in the way he imagined.

Liana-Khim Dy
Richmond, BC – Branch #291

Second Place Senior Poetry Winner


They called it a Great War.
And like a magpie he was immediately swept up in their promises of Shiny fame and jewels of honour
And like a magpie he flitted away with three friends to join his flock
And he promised to write every single day
And he promised not to get hurt
And he promised to come home.

They say that promises are easy to remember but hard to keep.
I check the post every day
I listen to the women gossip in the factory
Tales of terrors are whispered about as I work and
There has been nothing in the mail for a week
Two weeks.
Three weeks.
I receive a letter in the mail.

They called it bravery.
They called it honour.
They called it sacrifice.
And I wondered
How many more would have to suffer
Before they call it by its proper name?
After all.
Death is Death.

He comes home
Five weeks later
Having kept his promise
Just not in the way he imagined.

Clara Gill
Fraser Lake, BC – Branch #274

Third Place Senior Poetry Winner

Children’s Game

the cannons arc roaring overhead
shrapnel shrieks and men fall dead
their bodies are mutilated
their wounds crying blood
that mingles with this plague of mud

this field was fertile in a far-off day
when sweethearts danced and children laughed
when the farmer’s boy brought in the crop
and war was a children’s game
then the sky was blue
then the wheat shone golden
but that was yesterday

today the sky is dark
the wheat is gone and the earth is scarred
women weep and children cry
wondering why father no longer sings them lullabies
the weary farmer is now all alone
his boys gone away to a far-off land
entrenched in the dirt they once worked with their hands

remember when war was just child’s play and not a vivid hell
here in the trenches it’s no longer imagined
bullets scream and men moan
living in an endless nightmare and stranded far from home

the guns arc never quiet and the explosions never stop
but when there is a silence
we know the earth’s about to rock

there’s fear and hate and anger here mingled with lament
all joining together in the smell of rotting bodies
in the stench or muddied blood

I liked it better when war was just a game that children played
please don’t forget the price for your freedom that we paid
we gave up our boyhood so that now without fear your children can play

Thunya Dudley
Nanoose BC – Branch #49

First Place Intermediate Poetry Winner

I’m Fine

You look at me
I’m tine
I lie
PTSD is hidden inside
The memories
They are engraved in my mind Stuck Like a movie on repeat
Sitting here in the backseat
I don’t wont to talk
I’d rather not walk
Away from the ones I love
You look at me
I’m fine
I lie
PTSD is hidden inside
Simple things bring me bock
To times I want to forget
Sadness and anger rush through me I’m not sure what I am
I store out the window
I doubt it will ever end
You look at me
I’m fine
I lie
PTSD is hidden deep inside
I cannot sleep
I cannot eat
I cannot beat my PTSD

Gwen Jaskiewicz
Maple Ridge, BC – Branch #88

Second Place Intermediate Poetry Winner

Remembrance Day

A cold Autumn wind blows
Through fields that no one knows

Bringing hostile winds of November
And a hint of things to remember

Rusty red flowers with seeds laid inside
Prompt young voices to ask questions swept aside

Serene elderly voices answer with pride
Carefully hiding the hurt still inside

Yet even then the scars still remains
For the late people left unnamed

Many a friend or brother was lost
A father, a son, all a cost

For the freedom we enjoy this day
For the peace and love here to stay

Now with November winds here
We welcome with no fear

For now is the time to listen
To stories that always glisten

A time to think, a time to remember
Every eleventh of November

Danica Maynard
Osoyoos, BC – Branch #173

Third Place Intermediate Poetry Winner

We Remember

A long, long time ago,
You gave your life so we would know,
What it means to be free,
And live a life full of glee,
We will remember,
It is an important lesson that must be taught,
To never forget why you fought,
Young and scared, yet oh so brave,
You went to war and your life you gave,
We will remember,
We will always remember the sacrifice made by you,
With everything we are free to so,
We will remember
We will share the lessons that we learn,
So those difficult days never return,
Let We Forget

Delaney Michaud
Valemount, BC – Branch #266

First Place Junior Poetry Winner

When Will You Be Home

You left home so long ago
Mother wouldn’t tell me where you would go I wonder when you will be home
I think about you during the day
And dream about you at night

Daughter … as I board I think about you
Of all the things you’ll learn and do
This is a sacrifice I must make
I think about you during the day
And dream about you at night

Father … we have received your letters
We read the newspaper and shutter
How much longer will you be gone
Sometimes I think, will I ever see you again
I often wonder will the war ever end

After what I’ve seen I will never be the same
The horrifying visions will never leave my brain
I hope the war won’t change me as a man
Sometimes I think, will I ever see you again
I often wonder will the war ever end
You left home so long ago
Mother wouldn’t tell me where you would go I wonder when you will be home
I think about you during the day
And dream about you at night

Daughter … as I board I think about you
Of all the things you’ll learn and do
This is a sacrifice I must make
I think about you during the day
And dream about you at night

Father … we have received your letters
We read the newspaper and shutter
How much longer will you be gone
Sometimes I think, will I ever see you again
I often wonder will the war ever end
After what I’ve seen I will never be the same
The horrifying visions will never leave my brain
I hope the war won’t change me as a man
Sometimes I think, will I ever see you again
I often wonder will the war ever end
The war is over, their mission is complete
They have won, but it is bittersweet
I am lucky my father’s coming home
We remember those who left but did not return
They fought for freedom they died for peace

I can’t believe I’m holding you in my arms
Thankful for our country that has left you unharmed
I am proud to be a Canadian soldier
I remember those who left but did not return
We fought for freedom they died for peace

Zach du Preez
Powell River, BC – Branch #164

Second Place Junior Poetry Winner

An Unknown Hero

I had a Great Grandpa I never knew
He fought in World War 2.
Sometimes I wonder what is was like to fight in a war?
Is everything they say really true?
Was my Grandpa scared? Was he hungry, was he cold?
Did he understand the significance of what he was fighting for?
It seems like peace can never be found in a war.
If only they knew that, then they could all be saved.
One thing I know is that you have to be very brave
To fight for a stranger’s freedom.
Especially to think that at the end you could be resting in your grave.
If my Grandpa was alive, I would have so many questions for him.
I would listen to his stories and tell him he was brave.
I had a Great Grandpa I never knew
He was a hero from World War 2.

Isabelle Song
Vancouver, BC – Branch #142

Second Place Junior Poetry Winner

They Shall Not Forget

Mothers … they shall not forget the bright smiles of their sons as they darted up the lane into their waiting arms.

They shall not forget how tears streamed down their faces as they sent them off to war.
They shall not forget how they anxiously waited for letters from them
telling them that they were safe.
They shall not forget.

Siblings … they shall not forget how their brothers protected them from bullies at school.
They shall not forget how their brothers said “I’ll go,” instead of them.
They shall not forget how their brother’s body still lies in some far away field under a white cross with a poppy.
They shall not forget.

Soldiers. . . they shall not forget the jokes he told to raise their spirits.
They shall not forget how he kindly shared his rations even though he was still hungry.
They shall not forget weeping over his dead body peppered with gunshots.
They shall not forget.

We … we shall not forget how selflessly they sacrificed themselves for us to live freely.
We shall not forget how they starved so we could eat square meals.
We shall not forget to remember.
We shall not forget.

I. .. I shall not forget to reflect during the two minutes of silence.
I shall not forget to wear my poppy proudly on my chest.
I shall not forget the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
I shall not forget.

Essay Winners

Sara Englund
Quesnel, BC – Branch #94

First Place Senior Essay Winner

Connor James Kennedy

Tears pour down my face, cutting lines in the grime caked to my cheeks. He takes in a rattling breath, shaking in my hands. “It’s going to be okay” I tell him but when he looks up at me, we both know that I’m lying. Blood pours out of him, so much that I am unable to distinguish the exact source. He drags in one last breath before the light in his eyes dwindles out, replaced by an emptiness so painful that I have to turn away.

I slam my hand on the ground letting out a scream filled with rage and pain. He was supposed to live. I promised her that he would make it back alive and that I would protect him no matter what, even if it is the last thing I do. Now, because of this wretched war, my best friend, my brother in arms, the only family I have ever really known and the one who was supposed to make it back with or without me, lays in front of me, his body nothing more than an empty shell, the life gone out of him. Just another statistic, another Canadian soldier tom down by the enemy’s weapons. Only a few hours earlier I was grumbling at him for waking me up. He’s
always been such a morning person, up and moving and whistling away as soon as the sun peaks up over the horizon. My heart twists as I remember his smiling face. I’ll never get to see that smile again.

“On your feet soldier! We’ll come back for the body later!” I hear and suddenly I remember where I am, on the battlefield, in the danger zone, as the war continues to wage on around me. I stumble to my feet, pulling my gun up from the mud and shake my head trying to get my eyes to focus. I take one more look at Connor’s emaciated body, not even bothering to try to wipe away the tears from my eyes, and take off after the rest of my squad.

When we get his body back to camp later that day, Jackson, a senior officer, taps me on the shoulder. I tum to him and he says with a pained look on his face. “Private Connor had a time scheduled to skype his wife this evening on the camp computer.” My heart sinks as he continues, “I know that you and Connor were very close and I hear that you knew him and his wife before this dreaded war. I figure you might be the best one to tell her the news.” I nod and follow him to the head tent. Moments later I’m sitting in front of a screen saying “calling …. ” Rebecca pops up on the screen, her face beaming.

“Baby guess what!?” She stops when she sees me. “Oh, hey Mark, is Connor not there yet?” My mouth gets dry and I clam up. After a pause she continues with the same amount of energy as she started. “Well I have something I just HA VE to tell him! I’m going to tell you because I have to tell someone or I’ll go insane!” She leaps up, turns sideways and stands in front of the camera. My heart stops. She’s wearing a tight red shirt, making her little round baby bump very noticeable. She lets out an ecstatic scream. “I’m pregnant! Connor’s going to be a daddy! It’s a surprise! Last time he was home well we didn’t expect anything to happen but a few months ago I wasn’t feeling good and I took a test and ……. IM PREGANT!” I can almost feel the joy coming through the camera. I finally find my voice. “Beck, I’m so sorry.” Her smile falls. I continue, my voice breaking. “It was just a routine patrol, nothing special. We were all at ease, Connor was laughing and joking. They came out of nowhere. Connor was hit from a few feet away, a guy jumped up from a ridge and shot him. We couldn’t have seen it coming Beck it was like a bad dream.” I choke back a sob. “He died in my arms. We didn’t have time to save him/’ She stares at me. “Beck?” She’s starting to realize that this is real, that it actually happened. I can see her heart shattering, her eyes fill with pain and grief and whether it’s on purpose or out of habit, her hand goes to her stomach. The tears come and she is bent over, her body wracking with sobs. Her voice is shaking when she says “Thank you …. for telling me. Bye Mark” and she closes her laptop. I’m left alone.
Private Connor James Kennedy. Canadian Armed Forces. Age 19. Killed in action.

Joanna Waite
Mt.Arrowsmith, BC – Branch #49

Second Place Senior Essay Winner

To the Very Last

For years I was told about why we remember. My class would line up to sing O’ Canada in broken harmony, and wear poppies over our hearts. We didn’t fully understand the reality of what had been fought and won for us. We would fidget, unable to keep still, as the bright metallic sound of a lone trumpet rang throughout the silent gymnasium. We thought it a hardship having to stand still so long; children younger than we, walking for days in the blistering cold to escape battles whose crossfire had killed thousands of innocents never once entered our minds.
When an old man dressed in a stiff green uniform visited our classroom, we knew he had saved our country, though what he did to attain that achievement never crossed our minds. To our delight, he let us don his dented, wide-brimmed helmet and took one of my classmates onto his knee. He endured countless questions about the food he ate and the clothes he wore. He didn’t speak a word of what it felt to be in control of the unforgiving steel of a rifle. We never saw in his eyes or heard in his voice the fear he must have felt on those sleepless nights, gunfire ringing close overhead. To the very last, he was protecting us from the horrors we will never fully understand.
Years later, I found myself on a trip to England and France. After a seemingly endless number of trains, and museums we arrived at Juno Beach. Jumping out of the car eager to stretch our cramped legs, we trotted over to the entrance of The Juno Beach Memorial Center. We entered the lobby with detached interest; it was exactly like every other museum we had visited, clean and smelling of times long past. That day we learned of D-Day, the siege of Juno Beach, and yet more lives lost. I was only a skinny ten-year old. The concept of death was far too large for me to comprehend; the thought of war a distant fantasy. Shame filled me because I could not imagine the horrors of war in the cool, well-lit room, plaques depicting the battle hanging on the walls by the dozen. And too shamed to admit that none of the dirt speckled photographs made me feel anything; to me, it was just another museum. It wasn’t until we stepped outside-onto the windswept sands of the beach-that my eyes widened in understanding. The tall dry stalks of grass whispered in the breeze-haunting voices echoed the sorrows of thousands of men-·· grey clouds skidded over the sun blocking its warmth. For a fleeting moment, my senses were assaulted with the sounds of men screaming, explosions, and gunfire; the air reeked of gasoline and burning bodies. The beach swarmed with vessels and men, weighed down by huge guns and canvas jackets, who waded with effort through the foaming waters littered with debris. Men sprawled motionless in the dunes, face down, cold hands clutching bent steel to the very last breath. This struck me as I stood on that lonely beach-the pain of war staining the yellow sands. And finally, in that moment I felt what it was that was given to us. Before any tears of thanks could leak from my eyes, I was called away from the beach. Tripping through the sand, I followed the sound of my family’s laughter into the life that had been fought for on this very beach. Only then, did I truly understand what it meant to remember those brave Canadians who were lost-to my very last, I will never forget.

Rena Su
Surrey, BC – Branch #229

Third Place Senior Essay Winner

Dear Veteran

Dear Veteran,
I am a student and I don’t know your battles. I have never seen war on Canadian soil or heard the shrill sound of bullets flying towards my comrades. I have never needed to grasp onto a gun to defend my life. But Veteran, you have lived through these situations. You have lived through more battles than I can imagine. Not only did you survive the front lines, but you also lived through the pain of losing your comrades and the battles you face away from the war.
Dear Veteran, you’ve sacrificed so much for our nation. The only reason that I have never been face to face with war was because of your bravery. I can lead a life where I live in peace and with safety. I am able to pursue an education away from the dangers of war. My friends do not get drafted and sent continents away. My freedoms and rights are protected. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t even account for a fraction of the strength and courage you have shown through your battles. Nevertheless, I still want to say thank you to show my appreciation the best I can. Thank you so much for all that you have done and everything you have sacrificed.
I may not know the men and women who died for us, and I may not know their names. But dear Veteran, you know their pasts and stories. These people were your comrades and friends. I may never get to know who they were, but I will remember them and their bravery just like Canada remembers yours.
Dear Veteran, you have kept Canadian soil safe. For your bravery, I wear a poppy on top of my heart to remind our nation of how courageous and selfless you are. I wear a poppy to remember the battles you have fought and the resilience you have shown. I wear a poppy to also remind myself of the soldiers who still fight for Canada and those brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Dear Canada, wear your poppies with me. Let us remember together.

Gomathi Parthasarathy
Surrey, BC, Branch #8

First Place Intermediate Essay Winner

This Young Canadian Boy

A young Canadian boy stands upon the war field, his pride engraved deep in his heart
His bravery radiating from his soul, in affection for his country, with honour.
His mind straying elsewhere to the meadow where sweet memories of home grow,
His thoughts dancing with reminiscence, in a gentle sea of love, patriotism and hope.
The boy has voyaged far from where he was born, determined to serve his country with loyalty.
Eager to labour, he triumphs onward through the dirt; marching into the vast, open hills.

This young boy has hope, determination and spirit, as he stands, awaiting the burden of war.

A young boy drops to the darer dirt, his scar-marked knees digging into the blood-stained grass.
Struggling, he inhales the metallic smell of blood and sweat, coughing in pain as he does so.
His wary eyes search the plains, pleading to the world in the hope char war has mercy co spare his loved ones. His only answer comes in piercing cries of pain and the screams of deadly gunshots.
What is chis? Why is this terrible conflict happening? Why must he fight chis?
His thoughts battle along with his body as he struggles co hold his breach right and strives co stay strong.
He must though, and he does. For his family, for his friends and for all. For us.

This young boy kneels, letting weakness scab him with regret and mercy,
Letting strength guide him forward with courage and determination as he struggles on.

A young boy falls, his legs giving in to the weight and pain, the boom of a gunshot echoing in his cars.
Hitting the ground silently, the taste of battle still present on his cracked lips as he swallows.
He sighs tenderly, gazing at his surroundings, recollecting precious memories, as he slowly realizes.
Realizes why he has to fight. Realizes why soldiers like him sacrifice their lives.
It is for freedom, for each ocher and for the love we all have.

Our world is united, and though death reveals the darker side of the moon, we can still love each other.
The scars painted on chis boy’s body are not wounds of war, they are a painting of courage and patriotism.
Now, welcoming the darkness with an open heart, this young boy doesn’t pity; he cherishes the fallen.
Loving the world for what it is, loving it for the beauty that we all must strive to see.
At last, this young boy has fallen, an honourable sacrifice along with other courageous soldiers.

They sacrificed their lives because they loved their country; their deaths were noble and meaningful.
They lie now on what twas once a crimson battlefield, now a beautiful meadow filled with black-eyed poppies. So now, on 11th of November, we honour those brave souls that have fallen We cannot rewrite the stars, cannot change what has happened in the past and cannot revive the dead,
Their sacrifice is a gift co us, a burning fire we muse keep alive within our hearts every day.
Lest we forget, we will remember.

Linnea Wiggers
Mt. Benson, BC, Branch #256

Second Place Intermediate Essay Winner


0711 hours. June 6th, 1944. Roughly 30 minutes before the scheduled landing of the 7th brigade on Juno Beach.
They’re on a small boat. The grey sea churning below them matches the colour of the sky. Such a gloomy day. It’s like the gods up above feel the same as the soldiers down below: grim, tired, restless. The soldier seated at the back of the watercraft shifts his pack, looking down at his trembling hands, at the unopened envelope clutched there. It’s been worn smooth by the countless times he’s ran his fingers over it. Tiny drops of water are splattered on the parchment from the misty rain. For someone who hadn’t know it was raining, the drops would appear to be tears. He had promised her that he would open it right before their landing on Juno Beach. He thought back to before, before he had received the letter telling him that he was a soldier now, that he was going off to war to fight for his country. They had been happy then. His wife, his young daughter. It was her he missed the most. 7-year-old Annabelle. She had golden-brown hair like spun gold, intelligent grey eyes that seemed to know secrets older than time. A laugh that could have made even the most unhappy of men smile. She had made him promise to come back, right before he left. “You’re going to come back, right Daddy? So we can play together again. Promise me, Daddy. Promise you won’t be long.” Her innocence, her will was so heart-breaking, so pure. He promised out loud to her, kissing her hair. Internally, he promised himself that he would return. His wife had handed him the letter, telling him that it was from both of them. She told him to open it only before he went into battle. He had said goodbye but she made him take the words back. She didn’t believe in goodbyes. They were the words you said to someone who you would never see again. He kissed her, as if for the last time, whispering his love into her ear. He missed them both terribly. He fingers the letter, ready to pry it open when he remembers once again the words of his little girl, his promise to her and himself. Promise me, Daddy. Making his final decision, he gently places the worn letter into the breast pocket of his uniform. He will read the letter after. He knows the letter will be opened, because he is going to make it. For his wife. His daughter. For the countless family members out there waiting for sons, brothers, fathers who may never return. He will come back. The boat stops, 150 meters from the shore. The soldier takes a deep breath and steps out into the water, shouldering his large pack.
It’s time.
The Allies claim victory of the battle of Normandy on August 25, 1944. In the end, over 5,000 Canadian soldiers are killed.

Julianna Bell
Kamloops, BC, Branch #52

Third Place Intermediate Essay Winner

Remember the Youth

In my lifetime, it has been a privilege to live in Canada. I feel so grateful for the veterans who fought for Canada in World War II. Not only did they fight for our country, they fought for our people and our freedom. We wouldn’t have our current quality of life without our courageous soldiers who took a stand.
It is scary to think that the whole world used to be at war, and that over one million Canadians fought in World War II. It wasn’t only adults who fought in the war; approximately 700,000 Canadians under the age of 21 were shipped off to fight in World War II! Even kids who were only 13 years old lied about their age to go and fight for their country. It is hard to imagine that people gave up their lives at such a young age to fire a gun. Over 45,000 Canadians died and another 55,000 were injured, many of whom were only teenagers.
I can’t imagine sitting at home when a letter comes saying that my loved one didn’t make it. Husbands and sons were separated from their families. Wives were left to raise their kids alone and worry about their missing loved ones without being able to help. It would be difficult to have my husband, let alone my teenage son, play such an important role in defending our country. Then after all of that, to have a family member die thousands of miles from home would be devastating.
Notwithstanding the challenges facing the soldiers, it was hard for the brothers and sisters left at home. They had to fill gaps in order to maintain a strong family. Having all the able bodied people overseas, that would leave long hard hours at the farm for the women and children. They even changed the driving age to 14 so children could operate farming vehicles! Normally the women would drop their jobs once they got married, but the government asked they find a career that they might have had no experience in. Over 6 million women got hired for often more than one job. That left the kids to harvest farms, and it was rough.
The world is not the same place as it was during World War II. In Canada, we are at peace and we are civilized. It is all because of the youth and adults who gave up their lives to fight for our freedom. And for that, I am grateful.

Corban Moyan
Burns Lake, BC – Branch #50

First Place Junior Essay Winner

Charles ‘Checkers’ Tomkins

Looking back in your family tree can give you a few surprises. Your family tree might have royalty or famous people, inventors or even a war hero. I want to tell you about my Great-Great-Great Uncle, Charles “Checkers” Tomkins. He used a secret Cree code language to help out in WWII. One of my favorite recordings is of him saying “I love my country, and I’ve done everything they asked me to do … that is why I was in the army”. I think that he was a humble man and he worked hard to keep his country safe.

He was born in Alberta. His parents were Metis and they both spoke the Cree language. His entire family spoke the Cree language really well, he knew it really well too. Charles became very helpful with creating the Cree code in the war because he knew his language so well.

Charles got married in 1939 and soon after he joined the Canadian Army. Six months later he was called to London with 100 other First Nations soldiers and divided into
different groups for the language they spoke. He was partnered up with another Cree soldier and they came up with codes to help send messages that the Japanese and
Germans would not understand. They used Cree words like “iskotew”, it means fire, this was the code word for Spitfire plane.

Charles served in France, Germany and Holland. The Cree code talkers were able to save many Canadian soldiers because their code was never broken. That means the Germans and the Japanese could not understand a word of their language and the messages were kept safe.

I am really proud of my Great-Great-Great Uncle, Charles “Checkers” Tomkins for helping out in WWII. I am sad that the Cree Code talkers have not gotten all of the
respect they deserve. Without them a lot of bad things would have happened. For all we know, this country wouldn’t be called Canada anymore. Some of the code talkers died before telling their families about the work that they did. I hope that one day the Canada will let everyone know what the Canadian Code talkers did in WWII.

Bella Campbell
Lantzville, BC – Branch #257

Second Place Junior Essay Winner

A Mother’s Strength

Imagine being separated from the one person that means the most to you. Feeling like half of you is missing and you may not ever become whole again. This was the story of my Great Great Grandmother, Xenia Littlejohn Cook, founder of The All Services Club. This club would change her and thousands of soldiers’ lives forever.
It was October 12th, 1939 when my Great Grandfather, George Littlejohn Cook left for WW2. He was part of the Scottish Rifles Regiment and was only 18 years old at the time. Xenia was left all alone in London, England and was quite worried about her only son’s departure. Suddenly, Xenia heard the bad news. George was missing and nobody knew if he was dead, alive or where he was! A wave of grief washed over Xenia. She needed something else to focus on. This was when she created The All Services Club.
The All Services Club was a safe spot for soldiers to stay, have a meal and hang out. The future Prime Minister of England’s wife, Clarissa Eden, liked the idea of the club and joined. Together, Xenia and Clarissa helped and entertained around seven thousand soldiers a month. She asked every soldier that came if they knew where her son was. She treated every soldier like they were her son. It distracted her from her grief about George.
Xenia soon learned that George was alive! He was captured and was now being held in a Nazi prison camp. She was blessed to know the whereabouts of her son! On September 2nd, 1945, the sweet sound of bells rang through the streets. The war was over and they could finally reunite again! King George VI awarded her the British Empire Medal for her generous work.
The soldiers in the war really appreciated Xenia’s club. It took their mind off the battlefield and made them feel safe. On this day it is important for people of all ages to remember all of the veterans and people like Xenia. Thanks to people like them we are free.

Peyton Manzuik
Oyama, BC – Branch #189

Third Place Junior Essay Winner

My Hero

My great grandpa does not eat potatoes. I always wondered why. Now I know and when you finish reading this, you will too. Over one million people served in the Second World War and my great grandpa was one of those people. Forty five thousand of those people died. Luckily, my great grandpa was not one of those people. He chose to join the war when he was 17 years old. He lied about his age and said he was 18. You may be wondering why anyone would choose to go to war, especially if it meant having to lie. But for many, it was an honor to serve the country. They were told it would last 4 months but actually ended up being 6 years, 1939-1945.
My great grandpa was in a group called Seaforth Highlanders. He began his training in Canada but then was shipped to England in 1942. He began to fight in Sicily for over a year. Then the Highlanders travelled to Ortona by foot with very little water and only potatoes to eat. His group had to steal them from the many potato fields they crossed. They could cover 30 miles in 24 hours. That’s 50 kilometers in a day. Weeks would go by and all he would eat was raw and sometimes spoiled potatoes. There was choking dust surrounding them, blistering hot sun over top of them and mines that could explode any minute underneath them. The battle of Ortona was of the most dangerous battles in Italy. The Germans got there before the Canadian Highlanders did so they had more time to plan and take land. My great grandpas group had no other choice but to take back the land by walking through open gunfire. That was how my great grandpa was injured in 1945. He now to this day has several pieces of shrapnel in his back from an explosion.
The war was a very tough time for everyone. It is very important that we remember all the people who have served in the war so that all the acts of heroism and bravery are never forgotten. Because everyone’s acts of bravery deserve to be remembered. I will never look at him as a great grandpa anymore, I will look at him like a hero. Because he will never be the same. The memories from the war will stick with him forever, even when he sits down to the dinner table and looks at another plate of potatoes he can’t stand the thought of eating.