An extraordinary gentleman

On Nov. 11, Canadians from coast to coast will come together to pay homage and give thanks to some of the most courageous and brave...

On Friday, Nov. 11, Canadians from coast to coast will come together to pay homage and give thanks to some of the most courageous and brave Canadians – our war veterans. For many Canadians, Remembrance Day is an important and significant occasion, as it serves to remind us of the sacrifices our veterans made to protect the freedom and democracy that makes this country so great.

Mr. Charlie Fielding, 98, and a resident of Hanna, is one such special veteran. Charlie served with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, attached to the Governor General’s Foot Guards in Europe, as a Recovery Tank Sergeant. In his 29 years of service in the Canadian Army, four-and-a-half of which was the Second World War, he saw death and he saw suffering. And yet many of the stories Charlie chooses to tell focus on the humanity that was found in the midst of these trying times, stories of great hope amid incredible loss.

They are stories of the people he met on both sides of the battles and of the little children who were caught in the crossfire. Charlie’s effect on the community that surrounds him has been almost as profound as his contribution to the Canada we know today. In his younger years, Charlie and his wife Mabel made a point of educating school children on Canada’s rich military history. He is credited with founding the Legion school presentations in the communities of Cessford, Youngstown and Hanna.

During one of those Remembrance Day school visits a curious young student asked him, “Mr. Fielding I just don’t get it, why did they have the grandpas fight in the war? Why didn’t they make the young guys fight?” Realizing the children needed more information, Charlie assembled a huge display complete with pictures and memorabilia that the veterans began traveling with, in order to help the young students understand that the soldiers were in fact very young men and women when they so bravely served our country.

The sense of gratitude and pride that these veterans have towards Canada is awe-inspiring and an example that every young person should experience. On more than one occasion, Charlie and Mabel brought along fellow war veterans from Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 25 to talk to the school children and to instill the sense of what great value their service has meant to our nation.

With the honour and heart of a soldier, he said that the students gave him and the other veterans more than he and his men ever provided the students. Charlie talks about the day he was on his way home from Cessford after the annual school visit with one of his fellow vets, a tough, crusty guy. His old friend began to silently weep like a little baby. When asked what on earth he was crying about, the old soldier confessed it was the first time he had ever shared memories of his experiences in the war. And it felt good.

So it turns out that these school visits on Remembrance Day are much more than educational. They are also a chance for those that served to be recognized and remembered as an important part of the history of this country. Canadians like Charlie have always answered the call to stand up for our freedom and democracy.

While we formerly recognize the contributions of these brave men and women once a year, I truly hope we appreciate their sacrifice and our incredible freedom every single day.

On behalf of the province of Alberta I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to all our troops and their families for holding the torch of freedom high. Thank you. We remember. Lest we forget.

Just Posted

MP Sorenson: New Year, New Beginning?

Economic outlook not so bright in coming months

Stettler Library has lots programs for public

Memberships are free for county and town residents

MLA: You don’t vote for the tail

Bureaucracy overtakes elected representatives

Our Town Stettler: Convalescent Hospital opened in 1954 first of its kind

Gave Stettler forward-thinking reputation for helping an ageing population

WATCH: World-renowned illusionist, magician, escapist performs in Stettler

Matt Johnson performs two sold-out shows at Stettler Performing Arts Centre

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

PHOTO: Eyes turn to heavens to witness super blood wolf moon

These two photos show the lunar eclipse about 30 minutes apart from each other.

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

Most Read