At 11 A.M. on November 11, 1918, the guns on the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the Germans back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months. In November, the Germans called for an armistice, or suspension of fighting, in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted allied terms that amounted to an unconditional surrender.
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. The moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war. This first modern world conflict had brought about the mobilization of over 70 million people and left between nine million and 13 million dead, perhaps as many as one-third of them with no known grave. The allied nations chose this day and time for the commemoration of their dead soldiers.
On November 11th, we honour the proud men and women, who continue to protect our freedom, our country and our families.
Throughout the years at Goodwill, we have been honoured to receive some very generous donations. Some of these items have historical significance relating back to the battles of World War 1 and World War 2. Our organization searches high and low to either return the items to the correct owner, or honour these items by giving them to a local museum.
In November of 2021, a military family was re-united with personal heirlooms on Remembrance Day. This all started with a donation we received at our Calgary Trans Canada Goodwill Thrift Store. A shadow box filled with medals, patches, and a black and white photograph of two soldiers showed up at our donation centre. Unsure of who it belonged to, we knew we needed to do some research to try and find a respectful resting place for them.
Found in Kentucky, letters from the war time turned up in an unexpected donation box. The letters were originally written and mailed during World War II. One was composed at sea, postmarked Jan. 27, 1943. The effort is underway to try to locate any relatives of the serviceman who wrote them 80 years ago.
In November of 2019, a Memorial Cross with the name Sgt. R.W. Finch engraved on it was donated, along with various medals from World War II and photographs of family members. We felt strongly that they should be returned to their rightful owner as they held too much sentimental value and so the search for the donor began.
Within 8 hours of a Social Media post asking the public to help find this donor, the message spread from Calgary, to Edmonton, to Winnipeg. Tracey Scott, a Calgary resident arrived at the Trans Canada location to retrieve the box of items she never knew existed. Scott’s hands were trembling as she held onto photos of her grandmother, grandfather and mom, and the medal given to the young widow.
In the days leading up to November 11, Poppies can be seen in every corner of this great country. This show of support and display of remembrance would not be possible without the efforts of thousands of Legionnaires who volunteer to distribute Poppies to the community through schools, community organizations and local businesses. We are so grateful for their efforts, and for the support of the many partners, local and national, who welcome Legion volunteers and Poppy boxes into their locations.
Goodwill will be wearing the poppy on our trucks, so you will see them in and around our community, as we support our Troops and remember the fallen.