Leading up to Remembrance Day and throughout the month of November, millions of Canadians wear a poppy near their hearts as a symbol of Remembrance for the sacrifice made by so many women and men, and as hope for a peaceful future. At Rose Hill Lane, we have had the honour of serving several clients who served in World War II and have enjoyed providing support to them in their final years.
Jack Hunter, a World War II veteran, was one of our first patients at Rose Hill Lane. Jack passed away peacefully in his home in 2017. To honour his legacy, and that of all veterans, we spoke with Jack’s daughter Laurie to learn more about his story and what Remembrance Day meant to him.
Jack entered the Navy at the young age of 18 where he served as a quartermaster on the HMCS Prince Robert during WWII. The Prince Robert entered Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong in August of 1945 before the Japanese surrendered. Once control was brought back to the area, the vessel was then ordered to repatriate Canadian prisoners of war.
A life-long resident of Virgil, Ontario, upon returning home, Jack followed in the footsteps of his father and pursued farming as a profession. He and his wife, Joan had two children. Sadly, Joan passed away in 2000, but his children, Laurie and Richard, continue sharing his story and commitment to educating future generations about the significance of the war and how to honour our veterans.
Remembrance Day was always incredibly important to Jack. A member of the “Virgil Boys”, a group of six Veterans in town, Jack would participate in the Remembrance Day ceremonies at various schools in town with his brothers in arms. Laurie told us there was a moment when a young boy stopped Jack on the street while he was walking his dog and asked to shake his hand and thanked Jack for his service. This was all Jack wanted from younger generations, was to be thanked and recognized for the sacrifices made by his generation. Laurie said that he, and other veterans, do not want to be perceived as being special, but just to continue being remembered for their contributions to our country.
There will be a time when all our WWII veterans will have passed. And that time is coming soon. It will be up to all of us to ensure their service is remembered and respected. We asked Laurie how we can make sure future generations understand the importance of what our veterans did for us and the freedoms we now have.
“Teaching children by using a relatable method is the best way for them to understand what happened, how it happened and how it affected the world as we see it today. I have attended a Remembrance Day ceremony at Crossroads Public School in Virgil where the children did a shadow presentation behind a screen of a soldier going off to war. It was extremely effective, and the children were able to understand because it was done in format to which they could relate. I was at a presentation at another school where the children used various art media to write or draw a Remembrance Day ‘thank you’. They wrote what their hearts felt and could express themselves in unique ways. Keeping November 11th alive in a way that relates to modern day expression is key. I believe that children can learn from history and continue to make the world a better place by respecting the men, women and families who sacrificed themselves for our future.”
While social distancing measurements continue to be in place, not everyone may be able to attend a Remembrance Day service this year, but there are still several ways that we can honour veterans.
Wearing a poppy is one of the simplest ways to show your respect for our veterans and to acknowledge their sacrifice
Wherever you are pause for two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m. on November 11
Share a story, a poem a photo, honouring a veteran on Remembrance Day on social media
Participate in a virtual Remembrance Day ceremony
Talk to your children and grandchildren about the importance of Remembrance Day and what it means to you and what it means for your family and most importantly for their future
Make a donation to a charity that supports veterans such as the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund helps to fund national veteran programs and their families in need.
If you see a veteran – thank them for their service!
What are you doing to honour veterans this Remembrance Day?
To all of our veterans, we at Rose Hill Lane thank you for your service.