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Veterans

Veterans’ Appreciation Day in Windsor

by lulujane on November 11, 2009

I shouldn’t be writing this at the moment because it is late, for me, and I have had a busy day.  I just returned home from the Devonshire Cinema.  Although I saw the Michael Jackson film, ‘This is it!’ last week, I took my 14 year old granddaughter Krista to see it tonight – after homework and dinner of course.

Last year I attended the Veterans’ Appreciation Day in our fair city, an event attended by about 800 veterans, friends, family and volunteers.  I took individual photo portraits of as many veterans as possible, and within a week had mailed or delivered copies to them.  It felt like a gift to me, to be able to do this.

Veterans' Appreciation Day 2009 (5x)

This year, today, I returned to do the same thing at this year’s event, filling my camera’s memory card and my heart.   I had a few surprises in some old friends I met there and enjoyed conversations with lots of people I hadn’t met before.

I used to work with Dan Beaudoin, who has to be the most outwardly patriotic person in our country. He has a Canada themed house on Lincoln Road.  I have seen him attend veterans’ celebrations before, often handing out Canadian flags or other themed items.  He was wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt that he had designed especially for him.

Veterans' Appreciation Day 2009 (40x)

When leaving to go home I noticed this truck in the parking lot and am assuming, probably rightly so, that it belongs to Dan.

Veterans' Appreciation Day 2009 (71x)

Following are two links to some additional photos taken today:

Photos of veterans:
http://picasaweb.google.com/linda.bluepeony/RemembranceDay2009#

Photos of events, volunteers, miscellaneous:
http://picasaweb.google.com/linda.bluepeony/EventVolunteersMiscellaneous#

As an afterthought I have decided to include a link to the photographs I took at the 2008 Veterans’ Appreciation Day. Perhaps someone will recognizes themselves from that event:

http://picasaweb.google.com/linda.bluepeony/RemembranceDay#

Kudos to the organizers, particularly my contact person, Dann Bouzide of the Windsor Historical Society.

Veterans' Appreciation Day 2009 (33x)

I can’t begin to imagine the scope of the planning, organizing and fine tuning that goes into such a large scale and greatly appreciated day.  So, in one way the event celebrates the veterans and is in appreciation of their service and sacrifice. And in another way, my sense is that they appreciate the acknowledgment and respect of having this special event created just for them.  Lots of appreciation all ’round.

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Honouring our Veterans

by lulujane on February 5, 2009

Occasionally I have felt nudged to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies at our downtown cenotaph in Windsor, Ontario. In my working life I always had November 11th as a paid holiday.  Particularly because I was paid for this day my conscience made me aware of my responsibility to honour the purpose of the day.  A few years ago I volunteered to help out at an annual veterans’  luncheon. The luncheon was extremely well attended, and I was disappointed that as a volunteer, no specific job was assigned to me.  As an individual who wants to lend a helping hand I felt discouraged.

As November 11, 2008 approached I felt I should be doing something more and wanted to avoid a duplication of my previous volunteer experience at this event.  I thought of a solution and contacted event organizers to see if I could attend the function and take photographs of veterans.  I got an immediate “yes” and in this way had an opportunity to serve our community of veterans.

Jerome Bernard

Jerome Bernard

About 800 people were in the hall when I arrived, seated at round tables of ten.  I moved around the room, stopping at tables to ask “are you a veteran”?  And most importantly, “would you like me to take your picture”.  In all I was able to take individual portraits of about forty-five veterans.  If they were accompanied by a spouse or other family member I also took some group shots.  Within about one week I had done Photoshop work on the photos and had them printed, delivered and/or mailed. In most cases I was able to provide the veteran with a colour photo and also a black and white with the colour brought back into the poppy and/or medals on their jackets.

My purpose in doing this is my pleasure at the joy it may bring to the recipient.  It was joyful to receive unexpected telephone calls, cards and notes to express their pleasure with the quality of the photographs and their appreciation in having the pictures.  One of the gentlemen who called me just happened to work with my father when he was a very young man. This was another bonus for me.

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