The Transcona Historical Museum’s exhibit commemorating Remembrance Week is scheduled to open Nov. 7.
"It’s a specific exhibit we have for Remembrance Day that isn’t regularly displayed in the museum," explains curator Erin McIntyre. "It tells the stories about the soldiers from Transcona who lost their lives during both world wars and the Manitobans who died in Afghanistan."
McIntyre says this year’s Remembrance Day services and tributes will be particularly memorable.
"The last WWI veteran died this year. With that, I feel the responsibility for remembrance falls more heavily on museums and communities to continue to tell these stories because these voices are now lost," she says.
With the exception of the Manitoba families who tragically lost their loved ones in Afghanistan, some would argue that the majority of younger generations are so far removed from the realities of war that Remembrance Day doesn’t have the same impact it once had.
McIntyre recognizes this.
"I do an off-site presentation at schools that speaks about Transcona’s role in the war and I bring some artifacts with me," she says.
"One thing I bring is an 18-pound shell that would have been full of shrapnel that was made at the Transcona shops. I let the kids feel how heavy it is and you can see in their eyes that something has clicked. They may not have had a personal experience with war but at least they’re having a personal experience with this object."
McIntyre believes making an impact means sharing all the details that happened here at home and not just overseas.
"There was a cordite plant that was set up close to Transcona and for a period of six months it was used as a Japanese internment camp," she says. "A lot of people don’t realize that the war happened so close to home."
For McIntyre, it also means not shying away from the histories that are complicated.
"It’s not just the way the movies tell a guts-and-glory-fighting-the-bad-guys kind of story. It’s discussing all the ugly aspects of the history and not just the glorious ones. Before the war Transcona was a booming and vibrant community and the world wars decimated that," she says. "We need to remember that loss is loss."
The Ultimate Sacrifice: Remembering the Fallen will be featured Nov. 7 to Nov. 11 at Kildonan Place shopping centre. An opening ceremony and unveiling will be held Wed., Nov. 7 at 12 p.m. and will feature the Royal Canadian Legion, the choir from Ecole Centrale School, guest speakers and more. Join them in remembrance.
Adam Petrash is a community correspondent for Transcona. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.