We will remember them

Posted By: John Moore · 11/9/2012 9:25:00 AM

A lot of people have asked to hear Dorothy Jamieson's poem so we've put it up here. It's not clear who wrote it because there are quite a few versions on line some of which go beyond honouring vets and try to score political points. Let's face it, we have to honour our veterans but their sacrifice doesn't diminish the work of journalists, union organizers or student radicals. 52 journalists have died this year trying to shed light on tyranny and war. Lech Walesa was a union chief and student radicals protested in the 1960s to end the slaughter of other young people in Viet Nam. But the veterans do deserve special honour and it's always a pleasure to run this poem each year.

Dorothy served in The Ladies in Waiting in France during World War Two and was decorated by Winston Churchill. She lives in Port Credit.

Now let me tell you the story of another poem. It was written twenty five years ago by WW2 veteran A. Lawrence Vaincourt. It's been reprinted all over the world, read on the radio and was once a column for Ann Landers. But somewhere along the way Vaincourt's name was dropped and most people have no idea that the poem was a column written by a Quebec based journalist. Vaincourt passed away in 2009 and just as these words have been spoken at tens of thousands of soldiers' funerals, they were read at his. His son Randy has been a friend of mine for years and wrote this week "Although we miss him terribly, what greater gift could he have left his family than the knowledge that his poem, the words of a Canadian veteran, live on and continue to inspire people around the world. Here is the poem:


By A. Lawrence Vaincourt

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land,
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives,
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honour while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.

©1987 A. Lawrence Vaincourt

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  • 11
  1. Tracey posted on 11/09/2012 10:57 AM
    Could you please load up a "printed' version of Dorothy Jamieson's poem?
    Love it! Thanks!!
  2. debra posted on 11/09/2012 08:54 PM
    The sacrifices of many have touched all. My daughter, 19, who now attends Western was ashamed that her old High School would not participate in Rememberance Day Ceremonies. CP24 was there today to gather the thoughts of many of the students. Her letter and comments make me proud.

    On 2012-11-09, at 6:11 PM, Shaylynn


    I am a graduate student of David and Mary Thomson from 2010. I was very much apart of this school with TAC, the prom committee as well as many sports teams. I really enjoyed this school and even told my younger cousin how great it was and pushed her to come there this fall. I have many great memories from that school but after watching the news today, I am completely disappointed.

    To be revoking the remembrance day ceremonies is completely disrespectful and I am now ashamed to call that my high school. There are students at your school that have been greatly affected from war from all over the world. There are students at your school that have family members that died fighting for our country. There are people greatly affected from this and you, as a high school, decided to ignore remembering them with the rest of schools as well as the rest of the country.

    This school has great leadership programs for all students yet the school itself isn't being much of a leader. I know teachers are fighting with the province at this time, but certain things, such as this, need to be treated differently. You are the only school in the TDSB that took part in revoking remembrance day ceremonies… I believe that tells you something. You have gone way too far. This won't change the bill but it definitely changes the views on your school. No amount of rugby championships, multicultural festivals or leadership programs will make up for this.

    I don't really know who this email will get to nor do I expect a response, but I just want you to be aware of the disappointment your students, their parents, Thomson graduates and the rest of the city has with your decision.


    1. kenfromcanada posted on 11/11/2012 10:31 AM
      @debra WOW!

      Shaylynn, as a father to 3 - all around or a bit past your age - I must say I was happy - say proud - that you took an eloquent and passionate stand. Stay proud of your great school, when the bozo's (lol- I can call them that) whom made this BRILLIANT decision - are long gone - your school will still be great.

      Thanks for GETTING it - your parents have raised a great addition to our society.

  3. Carol posted on 11/10/2012 05:42 PM
    A great idea for keeping your poppy on are the clear plastic tube pieces you get for women's dangling earrings to hold them on! You can buy them in packages sold at Michael's stores in the jewelry area!
  4. proton posted on 11/10/2012 07:45 PM
    I bought a poppy from a young boy who's a cadet. He's young enough that his mother sat near him in the supermarket. He is of Asian extraction. I thanked him for doing this. Contrast this with the number of schools that have cancelled Remembrance Day Ceremonies because some of their union members are so despicable that they deem their selfish actions are more important than participating with their students in remembering and honouring the great sacrifice that our soldiers gave for THEIR country and THEIR freedom.

    Those teachers that are responsible for their students being unable to participate have no moral or ethical fibre. Many people died for this country and for our freedom and for these teachers to spit on their memory by these actions should be removed from the profession. I hope their students appreciate how utterly disgusting their behaviour is.

    That young boy has greater ethics and moral fibre than these teachers ever will!
  5. kenfromcanada posted on 11/11/2012 10:20 AM
    What am I reading? A school or schools OPTED out of Remembrance Day? I have read many things on this site, commented on some, but this... too much political correctness. Too much.

    How about a list of the schools that OPTED out? And, a list of the chicken shit staff that made the decision. I will then offer to take them to one of several places that past vets are living - MINUS PARTS OF ONCE HEALTHY BODIES - or young vets that have years of therapy ahead.

    kenfromcanada is also Ken who was in the reserves - long time ago, a peaceful time ago.

    God Bless all our past and current vets, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
    1. proton posted on 11/12/2012 09:43 AM
      @kenfromcanada from a grateful citizen, Ken, thank you for having been in the reserves and serving your (our) country.
  6. EM posted on 11/11/2012 06:30 PM

    I have posted this in another thread as well, but Shaylynn is a true example of how Canadians love immigrants to learn Canadian history, but they so fail to realize that those immigrants also have a history Canadians need to learn too. I wish she can stand up in a Japanese family, and explain to a Japanese child in this country why he or she has to recognize remembrance day.

    And that is simply a one example.

    1. kenfromcanada posted on 11/13/2012 08:36 AM
      @EM EM

      Eddie, you are a tool.

      Even Remembrance Day has to be a platform for your diatribe.

      And since you said you posted twice - I get to call you a TOOL once more.

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