Remembering by George Cousins

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I hope that showing a photo I took 58 years ago will help give emphasis to that word “Remembering”.
Another Remembrance Day, in 1953, at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada. I was waiting to take my place as part of the Honour Guard for the parade, in the early morning, and had a few moments to take one or two shots. The sight of these elderly ladies, sitting patiently on the steps of the Cenotaph, was profoundly moving. Rather than intrude on their privacy, I took the shot using my 200mm. telephoto from across the street, handheld. It was on Kodachrome film, ASA 10, using my Exakta Varex 35mm. SLR. The slide was scanned in 2004 using a Canoscan 4000US scanner.
The quality is not the best, and I couldn’t decide if the treatment should be in colour, black and white or sepia, so I have posted all three.
It’s not a time for perfection in photography, but it is a time for reflection and remembering.

Thank you for your moment of silence on Nov. 11 at 11 o’clock.

The following is from Wikipedia:

“The National War Memorial (also known as The Response), is a tall granite cenotaph with acreted bronze sculptures, that stands in Confederation Square, Ottawa, and serves as the federal war memorial for Canada.

Originally built to commemorate the First World War, in 1982 it was rededicated to include the Second World War and the Korean War. In 2000, the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added to the memorial site and symbolizes the sacrifice made by every Canadian for their country."

The writing below is by an unknown author. It was sent to me and I think has been around a long time, but it’s worthy of being posted again.


The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

‘Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true?’

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
‘No, Lord, I guess I ain’t.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can’t always be a saint.

I’ve had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I’ve been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn’t mine to keep…
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.

I know I don’t deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears

If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
It needn’t be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don’t, I’ll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

‘Step forward now, you soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in Hell.’

Author Unknown~

It’s the Military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the Press.

It’s the Military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of Speech.

It’s the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It’s the Military who salutes The Flag, who serves beneath The Flag, and whose coffin is draped by The Flag.

Please pray for our men and women who have
Served and are currently serving our country and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.*

Featured in A Place To Call Home
Featured in Days Gone By

Featured on Red Bubble Home Page May 30-2011


  • David Davies
    David Daviesover 4 years ago

    Wonderful picture and even more wonderful poem, George! The old ladies are so dated in their dress but came out beautifully. Well recorded, George! We should never forget!

  • oulgundog
    oulgundogover 4 years ago

  • Mike Oxley
    Mike Oxleyover 4 years ago

    A very moving image and words, George. I’ve passed this memorial many times and I never lose sight of its significance. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Hi Mike, and thank you. I have never gotten used to Remembrance Day turning into a “holiday” but I guess that’s the way our society sees it now. It used to have a deeper meaning.

    – George Cousins

  • Lori Peters
    Lori Petersover 4 years ago

    Thank you to all Canadian veterans for their service and sacrifice.

  • Thank you Lori, very much appreciated. I hope all of us,wherever we are, take a few moments to remember all those who aren’t here today. They all deserved a better life, and a longer one.

    – George Cousins

  • Debbie Robbins
    Debbie Robbinsover 4 years ago

    CONGRATS ON YOUR FEATURE in A PLACE TO CALL HOME!!!!!! I am honored to be among you! :)) Wonderful Tribute!!! :))

  • Thanks Cookie, and congrats to you too. The more of us that remember, the better (hopefully) the world will be.

    – George Cousins

  • Evita
    Evitaover 4 years ago

    Beautiful tribute and image !!!
    Congratulations on your feature !!! ☺♥

  • Hi Evita, many thanks for your kind comments. Sorry I’m a day late in answering :)

    – George Cousins

  • jazzdevil
    jazzdevilover 4 years ago

  • Many thanks jazzdevil, much appreciated!

    – George Cousins

  • Photography by Mathilde
    Photography by...over 4 years ago

    Your words, image and the poem see me weeping for all those who made the final sacrifice – we must never forget. Loving and moving tribute for all those who died and those that have been terribly injured defending the right of freedom

  • Thank you so much for your kindness. It’s an old photo but I have always treasured it for the simplicity of the ordinary people who were gathering that morning to pay their respects.

    – George Cousins

  • Chelei
    Cheleialmost 4 years ago

    Wow! I love the photo and the poem – Would you please consider entering this piece of art into the Just Fun Group so you can enter the Memorial Day Challenge?!

  • George Cousins
    George Cousinsalmost 4 years ago

    Of course Chelei, I’m honored to do so!

  • Chelei, I had already entered it into the Just Fun Group back when I posted it, but apparently it didn’t get accepted. Strange because my “tick” is still there. I’ll remove it and re-enter it and see what happens.

    – George Cousins

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