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This is the story of how my grandfather, Woodward Stewart McKeough, earned the Croix de Guerre with a silver star on April 28th 1945. Stewart was part of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons in the Canadian Army and was part of the effort which finally closed the Falaise Gap – a decisive victory which led to the liberation of Paris and the retreat of the Germans across the Seine.
On 20 August 1944 Lieutenant W.S. McKeough was ordered to find and determine the exact limits of the gap, if any, southeast of the Trun, through which the enemy was escaping from the Falaise pocket. He succeeded in working his way with his Troop Sergeant through very difficult country to a position on Hill 117. There he saw large column of enemy infantry and transport moving northeast between his position and Chambois. This information was immediately reporting through Regimental Headquaters to a Canadian Corps and resulted in action being taken which finally closed the gap between Trun and Chambois.
Having done this. Lieutenant McKeough immediately started to engage the enemy, inflicting numerous casualties both in vehicles and personnel, as well as contributing to the further demoralization and confusion of the enemy. Lieutenant McKeough stayed in this area in spite of heavy sniper, mortar and 88-mm fire, He continued to engage the targets within range until all ammunition was used up.
The initiative, coolness under fire, complete disregard of personal safety, and skillfull handling of the troop, undoubtedly contributed greatly to the successful closing of the German escape route betwen Trun and Chambois.
And I am extraordinary lucky that he returned from the war in one piece, has been an inspiration to me my entire life and is indeed still alive and well today at age 91 🙂
It is hard to walk the line between honouring our veteran’s bravery, glorifying war and remembering the past so we can create a better future. I am proud of what my grandfather did, as odd as it feels to be proud of someone for killing another, and I accept that man-to-man combat was required of citizens at that time to build a better life – for themselves, and indeed their children.
I think world peace may achieved one day, if we remain grateful for what we have and continually grow to accept others for who they are. I actually think Remembrance Day embodies both those sentiments beautifully – we make a nationwide effort to show our gratitude to our veterans and teach our children to remember what other have done for us. And in our ceremony we also show our acceptance for who these veterans were in war as well as who they are today.
My deep thought of the day. If you aren’t on a Mastery Path in some area of your life, you are simply, slowly declining….
Image from http://www.actualized.org/articles/mastery
I often spend mental cycles in my vehicle planning my day, trying to remember everything I need to remember and figuring out what I need to do next. It is common to make a 15 minute routine drive and not remember seeing anything – just a robot with a brain that is occupied elsewhere. Add 3 kids into the mix and I am generally not ‘present’ when driving. I never feel dangerous (except when the kids are fighting or screaming), just mentally busy.
Recently, I read the ‘Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle and decided to start experimenting with his philosophy. Just be really present – notice what is going on around me and listen for the silences. And the time I seem to heed his word the most – is when I am driving. In a car with music blaring and kids wrestling, I struggle to hear the silence outside the car – but I do focus on every inch of the road as I drive. And I get better at it as I practice.
I still snap at the kids and I haven’t turned into an enlightened being yet – but something has changed. Two things have changed.
Time has slowed down. Almost like when I was a child and a 15 minute recess was an enormous amount of time to have fun. If I focus on the present and don’t obsess about: what will happen next, or how many minutes are left in my drive until I am late, or how am I possible going to achieve all the things I set out to do in the limited time I have to them. If I look at the trees, notice the other driver’s expressions, see all the different colours of cars around me – time slows down. And not just for that time I am in the car. Now my days seem longer, the summer is stretching out, and I feel like I have an infinite amount of time to get stuff done.
And that last point is the second thing that has changed. I don’t stress about ‘what needs to be done’. There are still times when I start thinking of the thousand tasks – from laundry to banking to consulting tasks – that I have to do, and I quickly feel overwhelmed and panicked. The familiar stressful feeling that time is short, accomplishments seem few and far between and the needs of many pull me into pieces. But then I remember to take a breath and observe and think (or stop thinking) – only ‘now’ matters. And I relax and am able to trust that I will get everything that NEEDS to be done, done.
So the key for me – is not to “focus on the positive” or “don’t dwell on problems, worries or failures” or “think only on solutions that I have an influence on”. The key for me – is to not think at all.
We have Crock of Shirt designed shirts for sale this year! Which is great, but even better – you can order your shirt (size & colour) at the party before 8pm and they will be delivered to the SnM party at 10pm!! Impulse purchases are the best 🙂 T-shirts are $25 and come in red, grey, black & pink. A portion of the t-shirt sales will go to the Rob Horne Scholarship.
Link to the Propositions Pool $5 per entry, you can enter as many times as you like – even if you can’t attend the party. All entry fees go to the Rob Horne Scholarship.
July 20th at the Kuromi Residence
Pool & keg open at noon
Dinner at 6pm
Kids welcome until 8pm
We are going to play a few games you may not have heard of – like Björrsbie and Neglin – and we will be setting up a virtual video link to parties in Iceland, and possibly in France & Fiji, to get us all together again. The favorites will be back as well, including the money wheel and the fear-factor milkshake.
Crack the keg at noon and it goes until… Kids welcome until 8pm and bring your bathing suit.
Dinner is BBQ chicken legs, whole carrots and celery, baby potatoes on a stick, fresh buns & dessert squares. In the Viking spirit eating only with your hands is encouraged – but there will be some plates & cutlery available for the faint of heart.
$25 entrance fee gets you in.
$15 for dinner. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wed. July 17th at 5pm
(September ‘n Mike)
On August 18th the 9th annual SnM (September ‘n Mike – get your mind out of the gutter) took place. All the invites said 10th annual – but I was a little enthusiastic. Mike and I have been together for 10 years – but this was actually only the 9th year we had a big annual party.
Anyway- what you all really want to know is how the party went. It was extremely entertaining – there was a little vomit, some lovin’ , a friend all the way from San Fransisco, a lot of spaghetti, some amazing wine, a guest in a wheelchair wearing his speedo, good friends – old and new, and a shotski with 10 people on it (2 skis long attached end to end).
We raised $500 for the Rob Horne Memorial Scholarship Fund – not bad for a backyard keg party.
Here are the results of the Fundraising Questionnaire: http://socialfire.ca/documents/2012Questionnaire-RESULTS.pd – which was won by Stu Wymer, he only got one wrong – it helps that he was willing to wear a speedo all night.
And, just a quick aside – if you are interested in helping another friend of ours and buying some amazing artwork (September’s art will be there) – check out the Silent Auction for Janet Whitehead this Saturday, Sept 1st, evening at the Art We Are.
A quick thank you to a bunch of people who helped us host the SnM party this year: Todd, Chris, Andrina, Brock, Trudy, Orion, Holly, Sal (and Cam), Ian, Andrea, Matt, Kelly and everyone who attended.
Until next year, or maybe next week, thanks for the great times everyone.