Monday, August 04, 2008

Oh Canada!

In all of my orientation talks and tours of the battlefield I've always made it a point to mention the importance and proximity of Canada in relation to the 1862 Maryland campaign. When I mention British intervention I'll point north toward Canada and remind the visitors that those redcoats wouldn't be coming from Britian, they were already right there, "...just north of Pennsylvania!".

I've often had Canadians come up to me afterwards and tell me that they appreciate the mention. They, as Canadians, and I, as a teacher are fully aware that the only thing Americans ever learn about (sorry, "aboot") Canada is the currency exchange rate.

Coming from Michigan, where I actually lived North of Canada (Point Pelee, look it up), Canada and Canadians were a tangible presence. Every kid, including me, who pulled out a pocketful of change to by a Milky Way would have, in that mitt of coins, one or two Canadian nickels or pennies, which, in Michigan, spent just the same as American.

Now that the U.S. and Canadian dollars are running neck and neck we're getting many more visitors from "way" up north visiting the battlefield. Generally from that giant province straight north - Ontario.

This past weekend I had a very nice couple from London, Ont. on my tour and they enjoyed it very much. At the end of the tour they came up to me and thanked me for the experience, which is always a nice thing to have happen, but for an added thanks she told me she was making me an "honorary Canadian citizen", and presented me with a tiny Maple Leaf Flag pin and a really cool lapel pin commemorating the 50th year of "her Majesty's reign".  She was quite moved as she was telling me this.

Now, I know that this won't get me anywhere next time I cross into Fort Erie from Buffalo, but it was a very touching gesture.

Speaking of touching gestures involving Canada you may enjoy this.

You meet the nicest people, from all over, at your National Parks.

Best wishes from just north of the Booner, eh?

Ranger Mannie


Anonymous said...

What's not to love about the country that brought us the Guess Who cover of "Shakin All Over"? Noel

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post - as a Canadian who has visited Antietam NMP in the past (and who will be in Gettysburg later this week) - it's great to know that we aren't forgotten,

mannie said...

Dear anonymous Canadian,

Perhaps you'll find this post on my helmet blog interesting:

Thanks for the kind comments and I hope you enjoy Gettysburg.

Best wishes from down south,


dmsdbo said...

Anonymous Canadian here once again!

Thanks for the kind words, and I did indeed enjoy looking through the post. Many of my relatives wore that helmet back in WW2.

My Dad's father was an airframe mechanic that landed in Normandy on D+2 to repair the downed gliders and other aircraft. His brother was in the Canadian infantry and was captured in Italy. My Dad's mother's brothers also served - at least two in the infantry and an "adopted" cousin in the U.S. Marine Corps.

My mother's side also had veterans, in all branches. Most interesting is her great-uncle, who was the Regimental Sergeant Major for the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, and who landed in the first wave on Juno Beach on D-Day. If you have ever read much on Normandy, you may know that the QOR faced one of the most ferocious landings of the battle, perhaps only exceeded by Dog Green and Easy Red on Omaha Beach. He survived the entire war only to be killed in his driveway by a reversing car in the 1970s.

As you well expressed in your post, Canadians are always suitably impressed when Americans are knowledgable about our country.

As for Gettysburg, it's the third trek there but the first in 8 years, so I'm understandably excited about the changes that have atken place. If I had more time, you can be sure that a side trip to your neck of the woods would have been in order!

All the best!

mannie said...

Dear anonymous Canadian

That's quite an impressive family history! I've often wondered about the fate of those gliders, if they were salvaged or scrapped.

Thanks for solving the mystery.

Have a great vacation.