Today is a day of reflection, to pay respect in our own way to those who fought to protect us. Although November 11th is a specific day to honor those brave men, women (and animals), I find myself thinking about them throughout the year. History is making itself every day, we can now watch it with ease, the media are very quick to report the happenings all over the world. You can’t help but think about those soldiers who are currently there, what is going through their minds, and of course what is going through the minds of their love ones. I pass a War memorial every day as I travel to work; it serves as a reminder of those that are gone, those who have served and the men and women currently serving.
Picture of my grandfather
Photo scanned by Aunt Doreen Bennett
My grandfather, Arthur Hurdle fought in WW2, he enlisted under the British Navy, and we were lucky enough that he made it home safely. Ironically enough today marks his birthday (he would have been 95). He was not a man who wished to discuss the events of the war, but did talk of the good times while on leave. My uncle posted on Facebook today that pop survived two torpedo strikes, which sunk both vessels during the war. I also know he contracted Malaria while serving in the Middle East. (I am sure some of my Aunts and Uncles can certain fill in more information on his life.)
As a boy I was always fascinated by pops tattoos and how he would describe how they were all done by hand with bamboo needles and Indian ink. He was also a gifted music man, I loved to watch him play the accordion and harmonica and if he was in the mood tap dance (he was a very technical tap dancer). What impressed me the most was on November 11th each year he would put on his legion uniform and place all his medals on. I can still hear the clinking of the medals and watch nan make sure all was ready before the ceremony.
Happy Birthday Pop (miss you)
Lest we forget
A example of a bonfire we would have back in the 80’s in Riverhead Hr. Grace NL Photo credit Sonya Natasha (photo was taken in Grand Falls-Windsor 2012)
Celebrating Bonfire Night is a long standing tradition in most communities across Newfoundland and Labrador. In Riverhead, Hr, Grace we would start collecting items weeks in advance and place them on Stapleton’s Beach. Day after day the wood pile would get bigger and bigger and some people in the area would take this opportunity to get rid of some items around their houses, like old chesterfields, chair, brush and of course plenty of old tires. Our goal was to ensure we had the largest bonfire in the harbour or even in the bay!! We did not know the history of Bonfire Night (at least I did not know in the beginning), all we knew it was an opportunity to stay out late on a school night and have fun watching how high the flames would rise in the air. For a couple of days after the fire you could see the smoke still drifting into the air as it smouldered.
In my opinion religion has no reflection of who celebrates this tradition, it is merely a time to come together and be warmed by the fires (and no tires). Having said that, there was a time that it was celebrated in a much different manner, here is a portion of the explanation of Bonfire Night according to Wikipedia:
Guy Fawkes Night originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. In the immediate aftermath of the 5 November arrest of Guy Fawkes, caught guarding a cache of explosives placed beneath the House of Lords, James’s Council allowed the public to celebrate the king’s survival with bonfires, so long as they were “without any danger or disorder”. This made 1605 the first year the plot’s failure was celebrated
Bonfire Night Bay Roberts 2014
The Bay Roberts Special Events Committee hosts a Community Campfire, photo credit N.Ayad
There will be three organized bonfires in Bay Roberts this year:
Bear’s Cove, the Coish, & Community Gardens , The Bay Roberts Special Events Committee hosts a Community Campfire starting at 7pm at the Community Garden (Old Ball field Road). Hot dogs and refreshments will be served.
On a final note, if you are visiting a bonfire please use care and caution around the fire and if you host your own fire ensure there is a water supply in the proximity. Have a fun filled Bonfire Night everyone!!