Oldest Veteran in the valley has a message for you

Photo: Monica Marcu Ken Hooker, WW2 veteran;
Photo: Monica Marcu
Ken Hooker, WW2 veteran;

by MONICA MARCU

Over 100,000 Canadian soldiers died in the First and Second World Wars, and likely, most every family has one or more members who have fought in the wars of the last century or this one.

Remembrance Day, also known as the Armistice Day, marks the date and time when armies stopped fighting the World War One, on Nov. 11th at the eleventh hour in 1918.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is observed in this country, the US and Commonwealth Nations with respectful moments of silence, sadness.

“Lest We Forget”.

The Canadian physician and poet, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae wrote the war poem “In Flanders Fields” in 1915, at the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier. It is one of the most popular poems of war:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Inspired by this poem, the American professor Moina Michael resolved in 1918 to wear a red poppy year-round to honor the soldiers who had died in the war, and distributed them and campaigned to have them adopted as an official symbol by the American Legion.

And here we are, many years later, we did not forget them – our heroes – and continue to observe and commemorate their sacrifices and fight for liberty, continue to wear those little red poppies of remembrance.

McBride’s community gathered last week to offer flowers and sacred silence to our local heroes and those few survivors of the latest world war.
One of them, Ken W. Hooker from Dome Creek, stands tall and proud, decorations shining on his chest.

Now 90-years-old, he is the only remaining Second World War veteran in McBride.

He lives in the same village his family moved to over 100 years ago.

At the ripe age of 16, he joined the army, and fought in a few countries in Europe. The end of the war caught him in Germany. Hooker wanted to become a sniper but ended up with the Canadian Scottish 111 Infantry Division.

He was a member of the “reinforcement troops”, and, while in Holland, he was guarding returning German soldiers who were allowed to return to their country.
His message for the young generation was, not unexpectedly, “Stay out of war.”

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