For over eight years the County of Prince Edward Public Library and Archives has laid a wreath at the Picton Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph. At 10 a.m, before the laying of the wreaths, there is a service held at the United Church in Picton.
At each service there is a speaker who shares a personal story or experience and every year it is different, but always touching. Many people of all ages fill the pews at the Remembrance Day ceremony.
As of Nov. 11, 2017, it will have been 99 years since the Great War ended, and 72 years since the end of the Second World War. And yet, in the far left rows of the church pews, the RCAF soldiers from 8 Wing Trenton sit. For those who sit in their blue uniforms, the war is never that far away.
To many students, the wars are dates to be remembered, or a poem they were forced to memorize at school. Hearing the stories and seeing the faces of those who experienced war, and those who persevered on the home front, helps the students better appreciate this aspect of our history.
The home front is often an undervalued element of war. Family members, spouses and friends sent parcels to the front lines, often with a note of encouragement and hope. Letters were read and reread a hundred times over, until parts were so worn they were almost translucent.
These letters were soldier’s lifeline and their only link home. This is the message that the Library and Archives symbolizes in the Remembrance Day display window at 224 Main St. Wellington.
We are pleased to offer this display for passers-by to view and reflect on this aspect of war history.
I often find myself drawn to books of human experience in times of trial such as the World Wars. These are a few that you might find edifying and each tells a unique story.
Night by Elie Wiesel is an account of the concentration camps in Auschwitz and Buchenwald – a candid and moving account of his survival.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is a perennial classic providing a glimpse into the experiences of Jewish young people in the Second World War through the diary of a girl hiding with her family. “
The Zoo Keeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman takes place in Poland and provides a glimpse into the ways the war stretched into, and impacted, even the zoo.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne features an 8 -year- old German boy befriending a Jewish boy in a concentration camp through the barbed wire fence. These are just a few titles – there are many more stories and nonfiction accounts available if you are interested in learning more. Drop by any County library branch for more recommendations.