Canada, since birth, has made amazing progress that has been unmatched in world history. Throughout the 19th century science managed to tap into the secrets of nature to enable men and women to live longer and more comfortably, air travel has reduced the globe to a mere fraction of its former size, and communication advances have brought the sights and sounds of faraway places right into our comfortable living rooms.
During these exciting years of growth Canadian farmers all the way back to our early pioneer families challenged all the elements, feeling the constant winds of change, and in fact they helped to generate a whole lot of them. They swapped their early horses and mules for tractors, trucks, and autos, and their trusty coal oil lamps and potbellied stoves for Mazda bulbs and modern appliances. Together they took the newest discoveries of the laboratories and put them to work in the fields and feed lots, and in most case made them perform a whole lot better than ever expected. As they faced this tremendous growth and ongoing new technology these farmers would also create vast new economic problems for themselves, but they banded together to form co-operatives that along the way have proved they could help build better communities, then, and long into the bright and successful future that would be shared and enjoyed by countless generations. This heartfelt salute is dedicated to them for their efforts, their sheer determination, and their will to survive by willingly sharing their knowledge and their personal skills and possessions.
Their deeds are written on the land, those men of lowly name;
Theirs was the strong and faithful hand, unskilled to grasp at fame;
Content to lead a simple life unvexed by discontent or strife, til Deaths oblivion came.
They sowed that when they fell asleep, their children’s children still might reap.
Scant was their knowledge and uncouth they seemed to courtly eyes;
But Kindness, Honesty, and Truth may walk in rugged guise.
Unconscious of their own true worth, as deep within the dust of Earth the dazzling diamond lies; they studied at a simple school whose lesson was the Golden Rule.
Unused to scenes that stir and thrill to conquests lurid glow;
Their homely boast was strength and skill to lay the forest low;
To tear the stubborn stump from the earth, and burst the pine tree’s mighty girth with a strong and steady blow.
These were the foes our fathers fought, on field by bloodless battles bought.
And they were the heroes for the sweat of labors swarthy brow,
Though heraldry and fame, forget the knighthood of the plow.
Is precious as the crimson flow of patriots expiring throe, our nation to endow,
For noble deeds both brave and good need not the baptism of blood.
They rest in peace beneath the sod, their toiling hands have won, these fruitful fields so green and broad, proclaim that their work was well done.
And so we who bear the lighter part shall keep this legend in our heart;
Of them, whose race is won, “The hands that held the axe and plow have made our nation mighty now.”
And there were wives and mothers too, brave, patient, tender, kind…. whose hands were full, whose hearts were true.
Though crude perchance the mind; to deftly whirl the droning wheel, and on the antique, skeining reel, the homespun product wind, to cook, to sew, such was their boast, and who shall say, ‘twas labor lost.
The busy hand, the weary limb, in death untroubled sleep the eyes with evening tasks grown dim, no more shall wake nor weep.
And we for whom their lives outwore in tender memories’ treasure store, their names and deeds shall keep, among the noblest of the earth, proud that such Mothers gave us birth.
Oh, dear, departed weary ones, our ancient honoured dead; May reverence guard your holy bones, and love their lowly bed.
For us’ til all that we can do….above the mounds that shelter you the grateful tear to shed, Keep green the memory and the grave and guard the rich and proud Heritage ye gave.
Sharp and clear are the dreams of our young…..and always framed in gold. Today more than ever before, they have the right to be looking forward to the bright future, but must always be proud of the colorful grit and heritage of our past.