A deserving moment in the spotlight for Matthew Brazil
It's been 53 years since his death, and more than 90 years since he so valiantly proved himself on First World War battlefields.
But Cpl. Matthew Brazil remains a legend in Spaniard's Bay, his hometown.
The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch No. 9, is named in his honour, and the Brazil family homestead still stands, not far from Brazil's Pond, and is often occupied by Brazil's son, Michael.
Those who knew Cpl. Brazil still speak of him with reverence, and recall how modest he was about his bravery during the war.
Without doubt, he is one of this province's most decorated war heroes.
But, for generations, his legacy province-wide has been overshadowed by another unassuming and reluctant war hero, Victoria Cross winner Tommy Ricketts.
Ricketts is a household name in this province, and was the youngest recipient of the VC during the First World War.
Ricketts was presented with his Victoria Cross by King George V at York Cottage, Sandringham on Jan. 19, 1919. After pinning the VC to Ricketts' tunic, the King reportedly stated: "This is the youngest VC in my army."
After the war, Ricketts was greeted like a conquering hero in St. John's. In addition to accolades and gifts, he was given an education and groomed by some of the city's elite to become a businessman, and eventually opened a pharmacy.
Following his death in February 1967, then premier Joey Smallwood ordered that Ricketts receive a state funeral.
Brazil was involved in the same battle in October 1918 that resulted in Ricketts being awarded the Victoria Cross, arguably the world's most famous decoration for military valour. Both were serving with B Company of the Newfoundland Regiment, and on that day, records indicate that at least six men in the company lost their lives in battle.
It's a sure bet that many more would have died, had it not been for the gallantry of Ricketts, Brazil and at least four others.
There's long been a quiet debate about whether Brazil should also have received the VC.
That debate abated somewhat in 1983 when the French government bestowed its highest award for bravery - the Croix de Guerre - upon Brazil, some 25 years after his passing.
Brazil's legacy is one that must be preserved, because he is symbolic of the sacrifices and contributions that so many Newfoundlanders made to the war effort nearly a century ago. This tiny island paid dearly for its involvement in the war, and it should not be forgotten.
It's why we dedicate this week's edition, and indeed our entire front page, to Cpl. Matthew Brazil.
Let us remember them all.