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Veteran addresses schoolchildren on Remembrance Day

The Story


On June 15, 1940, George Cole wrote his last high school exam, then enlisted on his way home. He spent the next five years with the Cameron Highlanders, fighting overseas and watching his friends die. Six decades later, Cole stands before a group of elementary school students in Calgary. He offers a suggestion for what they might think about on Remembrance Day, then stops to answer innocent questions about a war that seems a world away and a lifetime ago.

Medium: Radio
Program: Sounds Like Canada
Broadcast Date: Nov. 11, 2002
Guest(s): George Cole
Host: Shelagh Rogers
Duration: 10:31
Photo credit: George Cole, courtesy of The Memory Project.

Did You know?


• Remembrance Day was created by England's King George V on Nov. 7, 1919, based on a suggestion from Australian journalist Edward George Honey. Honey first suggested a moment of silence for national remembrance in a letter published in the London Evening News on May 8, 1919.

• According to an audio interview he recorded for The Memory Project, George Cole enlisted in June 1940 and became a sergeant in 1941. He shipped out for Europe in May 1942. On D-Day, Cole's platoon landed on Juno Beach in support of the Winnipeg Rifles. His unit moved on to take Calais, then moved into Holland. Cole was discharged in October 1945. He returned to Canada and went back to school at Carlton College.

• The inscription George Cole mentions at the beginning of this address is a version of a famous epitaph commemorating the battle of Kohima in Burma during the Second World War. That epitaph itself was a misquotation of words first penned by English classicist John Maxwell Edmonds:
When you go home, tell them of us, and say,
For your tomorrows these gave their today.


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