On Friday evening, my husband and myself attended a Mixed Mess Dinner at the Rideau Canal Junior Ranks Mess in Ottawa, Ontario, during which we welcomed and feted Second World War and Korean Conflict (War) veterans as guests of the mess.
It gave me time to reflect on what I had done during that day (reading the First World War diary entries on the Library and Archives Canada website) as the veterans were introduced, and as they said a few words to the assembled.
It was the first mixed mess I had been to, and when they stood—and drank toasts to the Queen and the three branches of service with their dram of port—it felt as if I was back in the olden days of the armed forces.
We weren't that far from Parliament Hill that evening, and as part of the Parliament Buildings, the cornerstone for the Peace Tower was laid by His Royal Highness Edward, Prince of Wales (King Edward VIII) in 1919 as a salute to the soldiers who had died in the First World War.
The Tower contains the Books of Remembrance - all seven of them* - and a page is turned each day at 11:00 a.m. <www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=collections/books/listing>.
The Memorial Chamber is where the books are located, and there is an observation gallery where one can see different views of the city.
*The seven books are:
- First World War
- Second World War
- The Korean War
- South African War/Nile Expedition
- The Merchant Navy
- In Service of Canada