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Tuesday, November 11

The Torch of Remembrance


I would like to introduce my readers to John Babcock. John is Canada's last surviving WWI veteran. He is 108 years old and today he lives in Spokane, Washington.

On November 11, 2008, John passed the Remembrance Torch, a sacred symbol of the Royal Canadian Legion, by video to a WWII veteran at the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The WWII veteran then physically passed the torch to a veteran of the Korean War, who passed it to a veteran peacekeeper, who then passed it to a veteran of Afghanistan who is still on active duty.

John Babcock is not in good health and could not physically attend the ceremonies but was proud to do his part by video. The passing of the Torch of Remembrance took place after the Act of Remembrance, which was followed by two minutes of silence.

I found the passing of the Torch of Remembrance very fitting. It honored veterans of every war from WWI to present day. It signifies the line in John McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields, that states: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. (If you aren't familiar with the poem, you can read it in my previous post. )

This Remembrance Day was the 90th Anniversary of Armistice, which took place on the 11th day, the 11th hour of the 11th month. Many dignitaries attended as did thousands of people, but the ones that really mattered were the hundreds of veterans who stood in the cold November wind to pay tribute to their comrades who were lost in battle, as well as veterans past, present and future. I'm so glad that John Babcock was able to be part of this historic day.

22 comments:

  1. this is a great post,and after the roten day that I have had,this lifted my spirits emencely.

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  2. Such a wonderful post my friend.

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  3. Hi, sweet Mary,
    I hope you received my card by now...I sent it last week. Not sure how long things move between West Texas and Canada, tho.
    If you would, just let me know ...I sent a card to Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor and she never did receive it...
    Love, bj

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  4. He's 108? wow! awesome!
    I am so proud of those who have fought for our freedom over the last century or so. My great uncle was one who fought and died monte cassino in italy in the 2nd world war. We had our armistace day on Monday which is similar to your remembrance day.

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  5. What longevity! Cuppa's grandad was a WW1 vet. He died at 105 about 5 years ago.

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  6. This guy John Babcock was on our local news.
    I only live about a 2 hour drive from Spokane.
    I'll think back to and older person and see how many changes that has happen in our world.

    Coffee is on

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  7. Great post - how amazing that this man, at 108 years could take part in this ceremony even by video!

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  8. Beautiful tribute girl..... beautiful.......... He looks really wonderful to be that old.... God has given him a long life..... He has seen the world change in so many ways......... some good, some bad...........

    We did not have mail today... Vets day...... the card will go out tomorrow............

    hugs

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  9. I was watching the ceremony on tv and thought it was so beautiful the way they were passing the torch...also wonderful how they got John Babcock to participate as well:-) Listening to the bugler play Taps always gives me goose bumps, it has to be the loneliest sound I've ever heard. xoxo

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  10. Mary, wow...amazing to see this last survivor of WWI! And what an incredible thing to pass the torch this way...

    I wanted you to know that the girls and I did indeed mail the cards they made to you today for shower...we mailed them right along with the letter my oldest wrote to our unknown veteran.

    Thanks again for hosting it...and for these wonderful tributes!

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  11. Hi Mary, thanks for sharing this story with us..John still has a lot of hair to be 108 years old..I can see in his face a bluish discoloration around his mouth..I am sure his circulation is not what it used to be in his younger days..I am glad he was given honor for his services to our country!!

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  12. I could not tell from his picture that he wasn't in good health. He looks awesome for 108.

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  13. Come by my blog, there are some awards for you dear.

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  14. Mr. Babcock looks much younger than his years! (Must be that full head of hair) I have wondered who the 108 year old WW1 was. Interesting post. Thanks for linking to me in your last post.

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  15. This is such a wonderful, beautiful tribute! You always just simply amaze me with your wealth of knowledge!

    So uplifting to see such an active member of the armed forces....100+ in years...fabulous!!!

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  16. This is amazing. I wasn't sure there were any veterans of WWI still living. As we ate dinner Monday night, Wonder Boy and I talked about the wars. He had some questions about the countries that were involved. He knew some facts that I didn't know or remember. I love it when we can have a conversation that is also a learning opportunity. Later, he needed me to look up something online for a math project. It was about angles. Math was never my best subject and I didn't take any higher math like calcalus or geometry. A couple of his questions I had to defer to his Dad or grandfather.
    Mama Bear

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  17. Mary
    When I saw JB photo the first thing I thought was what a lovely lock of white hair he has and then I read your story. Thanks for sharing. Peace

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  18. Mary I lost your address could you email it again please

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  19. A great post, Mary. Thank you for sharing and educating us. I also enjoyed your following post on the Nursing Sisters. Very interesting. I recently learned that my neighbor fought in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. We have a friend who fought in Iwo Jima. My husband flew a transport plane in the Vietnam War. All brave men.

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  20. Great and respectful post!!!

    Have a good end of the week.

    Love, Jess

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  21. Just Wow!! At our local Veterans day program-I learned the US's has one living solider from WWI I can't remember his name-but he is 107.

    I've so enjoyed all your posts about veterans!

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  22. Thanks so much for sharing 108 year old WWI veteran John Babcock with all of us. Wonderful post!
    Hugs and blessings,

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