Lest We Forget

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Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I look out at the mountains and see a sea of oranges, reds, yellows, and greens. And as the leaves start changing colors my mind turns to memories of Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day. Since I grew up in Canada the holidays came in that order and are very much associated with family gatherings and poppies.

I have always had a fondness for the little felt covered plastic poppies we pin on our coats, I even have one hanging up at work. The emotions and feelings of appreciation that are associated with this simple flower pin are sometimes overwhelming as I consider the sacrifices that have been made over the years – many men and women have chosen to serve their countries knowing there is a chance they may not return.

I have a rich heritage of military service in many of my family lines. My maternal grandfather, and great grandfathers, paternal grandfather and great uncle and more chose to serve. Robert Howland and William Robert Howland, my great and 2nd great grandfathers, served in WWI for the Canadian Armed Forces. My grandfather, Arvid Nordquist met his father-in-law, William Howland, for the first time in England while they both served during WWII. My great uncle was killed in action during WWII.

There are many ways to honor our ancestors and their legacy and one of those is to share their stories and bring them back to life for future generations. Although I didn’t meet my great grandfathers I know who they are, where they served and stories of injuries they sustained and missions they fulfilled.

An added bonus is finding the records associated with their service. I love seeing their handwriting and comparing their signatures, seeing their answers to the questionnaires, and sometimes even seeing pictures. If I hadn’t been told their stories these records would be the only sources I would have of their service and this part of their life. Records speak to us long after our ancestors have passed.

This brings me full circle to the present and the gratitude I have for you and the choice you have made to give of your time to key and review records. Just counting military collections we have completed more than 25 including the UK, Memorial Books WWI & WWII, 1914-1945, Gateshead, Durham, England, Roll of Honour, 1914-1920, U.S., Military Registers, Marines and Canada, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1872-1914. We have almost completed 2 more, U.S., Military Registers, Army (Part 1) and United States, War Department, Press Releases and Related Records, 1942-1945 and we are planning to release a few more by the end of the year.