This November 11th, our thoughts go to those who are serving in war-torn countries around the world today, and those who served, fought, and died for our freedom in the two great wars and other past conflicts.
In addition to the soldiers who fought on the front, thousands of people contributed to the war effort in many ways.
In WWII more than 50,000 women served in the armed forces. They also played a major role in the war effort; they worked in factories, volunteered with the Red Cross, and carried out other critical non-combat roles.
In wartime, individual acts of heroism occur frequently; only a few are recorded or receive official recognition. One of those people was Bob Fletcher, an agriculture inspector in California, who in 1942 quit his job to manage the fruit farms of Japanese families sent to internment camps during the war. He agreed to manage an elderly couple’s farm by paying their taxes and mortgage while they were away, and he could keep the profits as payment.
Although he was harassed by his community, for the next three years Mr. Fletcher lived in the migrant workers’ bunkhouse, worked 18-hour days to work 90 acres on this, and another two farms. He paid the bills for three families and kept only half of the profits. His wife cleaned the couple’s house for their return and stayed in the bunkhouse with her husband.
Instead of losing their property and their livelihood, the family returned to a clean house and money in the bank. Bob Fletcher died on May 23 in Sacramento. He was 101.
During WWII the Canadian government also had a policy of internment and forced relocation, resulting in the removal of more than 20,000 Japanese Canadians to camps, farms, or other labor-intensive jobs. After the war, as they were gradually allowed to return, they often found that their homes and businesses had been seized or sold off.
After decades of lobbying by the Japanese Canadians, the Canadian government issued a formal apology and signed the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement in 1988 which included financial compensation to the surviving internees, and community initiatives to educate and remember this part of our history.
In Richmond BC, and across Canada, Japanese Canadians have been actively preserving their cultural heritage, sharing their history through community events, organizations, and museums. The Japanese community played a significant role in Steveston, most notably processing salmon at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery.
Today many cultural events, festivals, restaurants, and businesses serve as a reminder of the significant role the Japanese play in our heritage.
1. Thoughtfulness is a habit—Being a thoughtful person is in our DNA – a way of life worth cultivating and practicing every day.
- Take time to listen, slow down, ask questions, express empathy.
- Hold a door open for someone, smile and acknowledge others around you, deliver a welcome gift or offer a meal to your new neighbours.
- Park farther away from the store if you are able. Leave the closer spot for someone who may need and appreciate the shorter walk. Besides, you’ll burn more calories and feel better.
- Compliment others and mean it. Send a note of congratulations to someone who has received a promotion, or special recognition. Do this sooner, rather than ‘I’ll get to it later’ – we forget and then it’s never done.
Did you know that Harvard has a Happiness Lab? Read more on our blog.
Diwali typically spans five days, starting with preparations beforehand, with each day having its unique significance and rituals.
Adopt the Culture
Light the symbol of hope and positive energy. Decorate your homes with diyas (earthen lamps with cotton wicks dipped in ghee or oil, or candles) spreading light in every corner of your homes. The significance of lighting the diyas and candles is to destroy the reign of darkness and to help Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity and wealth to find her way into our homes and lives.
We can all enjoy victory of good over evil and triumph of light over darkness.
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