The war’s impact on families was remarkable, says Antigonish blogger
Bruce MacDonald of Antigonish taught high school social studies for years.
Ironically, it wasn’t until after he retired that he found time to learn more on the subject of the First World War and the Nova Scotia veterans from that time.
MacDonald writes a blog (http://guysboroughgreatwarveterans.blogspot.com/) uncovering and writing about the stories of those who served.
He also gives guidance to teachers in Nova Scotia, providing insights and advice on how to teach their students about the war years and helping them understand the significance of that time and how it shaped Canada’s future.
He says the best way to entice the younger generation to understand their history is by focusing on the human stories.
“What I try to emphasis with the people I interact with is the price that families and communities paid in the First World War … the stories of those who died and never got to contribute what they could.
“For example, the community of Canso lost about 25 young men; and the impact that would have had on the families was quite remarkable.”
MacDonald feels a sense of accomplishment to be able to help people better understand this period of history.
The cenotaph in Antigonish, like cenotaphs across the country, bears the names of young men who never returned from the First World War.
“Every year,” he says, “this fellow would go out to the ceremony, look at the cenotaph and wonder, ‘Who were these guys?’”
That question started MacDonald on his journey of research; leading to the publishing of a book about those The Antignoish veterans on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.
“I think to make them real people in their community humanizes them, and humanizes the impact of the loss. You start to begin to realize they were real people, and they didn’t come home, and how would that have impacted their communities and their families.”