OUR ARMY: BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE
This editorial originally appeared in the Regina Daily Post, one of the forerunners to the Leader-post, on Nov. 12, 1918, under the headline Where Credit Is Due. We are sharing it today to show how one newspaper marked the end of the First World War.
To Canadians, there is one place to award credit for the event of yesterday, the signing of the armistice which announced to the world the complete and unqualified surrender of the German nation to the victorious Allies.
The credit goes to the Canadian soldiers. That is not to withhold from the French, British, Americans and Italians, the credit which is due to them. Each of the Allies produced an army of which it may well be proud in proportion to its national strength.
But to Canadians, the army which fought and won the war was the Canadian army.
The Canadian army was the representative of this nation in the battle-line. It is the army to which our gratitude and our praise must be awarded. We can rejoice with Great Britain in her mighty achievements; with France in the unconquerable courage and devotion of her poilus; with America in the fact that the vanguard of her army was the force which turned the tables and gave the Allies the superiority in reserves which enabled them to strike so freely and triumphantly. Yet our army was the Canadian army, and an incomparable army it was — the bravest of the brave, skilful and effective fighting units.
Our army! Here’s to it! They held the line at Ypres and “saved the day.” Langemarck,
St. Julien, the Somme, Vimy, Lens, Passchendaele, Amiens, Arras, Queant — the tale of their victories is almost a history of the war. Unbeatable in defence, incomparable in attack, dogged and plucky as the British, fierce and savage in attack as the French — Foch’s Pets they called them and they earned the name!
Forty-odd thousand of them laid down their lives, and thousands more sustained injuries which will cripple them for life. But those who gave their lives gave them as willing sacrifices in the cause which has triumphed, and those who will be with us crippled through the years of their life it shall be the country’s duty to care for and keep from want of suffering.
All the honor we can pay, all the reward we can give, is none too much for the men who have won for Canada such a proud place in the hour of Victory. Their country will be ever in their debt, give them what it will.
Our industrial workers, who kept the flood of shells moving toward the front; our farmers, who helped so well to feed the Allies and the troops; our financiers and the people themselves, who kept the money pouring out to extinguish the conflagration in Europe; the women of Canada, who worked with heart and soul in the cause of the Red Cross and other patriotic works; the country’s political leaders and statesmen; the whole people of the Dominion, indeed, are entitled to credit for their achievements; but over all, overshadowing everything, rendering the efforts of the people at home almost insignificant in the comparison, is the work of the actual fighting men.
Wars are won by fighting men, first, last and all the time. All that the most patriotic country in the world can do is second the efforts of the men who do the actual fighting on the battlefront. Germany collapsed like a house of cards, it is true, but the collapse would never have come if the bullets and the bayonets of the Tommies, the poilus, and our own splendid men, had not taught them the lesson of defeat.
The fighting men — give them the honor!