Letters to the Editor
Recently I read in the newspapers in both the United States and Canada that the Salish Sea was to be designated the new name of the waters of Puget Sound in the States and the Georgia Strait in Canada. Then I read in the Vancouver Sun that the Queen Charlotte Islands were to receive an additional name of Haida Gwaii. If these names can be changed or added to, I don’t see why Don Island and Lion Island can’t be changed to Oikawa Island and Sato Island in honor of the founding leaders of these islands. Some Japanese Canadians have told me that navigators don’t like changes, so there is resistance to changing names. Perhaps the new names can be listed first with the old names put in parentheses and then eventually dropped after people become accustomed to the new names.
Of course there is the long process of petitioning for new names and going through the motions of the various agencies. Federal and provincial departments will have to give their approval for any name changes, and this could take a while. Nevertheless I think this is a worthwhile cause and should be pursued no matter how long it takes. A committee should be organized within the Greater Vancouver JCCA to take up the matter.
On another topic, some Japanese Americans were upset that the Vancouver hot dog stand Japadog was mentioned on the American TV show Today. Since “Jap” is considered a racist slur in the United States (and in Canada too, I hope), they were angry that there was even mention of that name. I’m surprised that Japanese Canadians haven’t protested the name. Since people from Japan aren’t that fluent in English and have almost no knowledge of Japanese Canadian and Japanese American history, they are often unfamiliar with the inflammatory word “Jap,” They should be informed and be willing to use a more acceptable word than Japadog.
Vimy Ridge Day at National War Memorial
It was indeed a great honour and privilege for me, a World War Two veteran, 89, to be able to attend the Vimy Ridge Day at the National War Memorial on April 9th to mark the end of an era following the passing of Canada’s last First World War veteran, John Babcock, 109.
It is most significant to note that those veterans who fought at Vimy Ridge, France in April 1917, took the ridge where Germans had controlled it using a network of trenches after 150,000 French and British soldiers had died trying to take it back.
Having planned meticulously for months, the Canadians had full-scale replicas of the Vimy terrain built to rehearse unit commanders on what to expect both from the enemy and from Canadian units on either side. Five kilometres of tunnels were dug in to move Canadian troops and ammunition up to the front without being seen by German observers.
The withering artillery barrage provided a screen for Canadian troops to hide behind. Every three minutes the 850 Canadian cannons would aim a little higher, advancing the row of shellfire forward by 90 metres. The troops had to advance strategically, falling behind would make them clearer for German guns mounted higher up the ridge, and getting ahead of the artillery would put them in danger of being blasted by their own guns.
In four days, 3,500 Canadian soldiers died, another 5,000 were wounded. The battle was hailed as the first success of the long war.
The Canadian victory elevated our country to a nation of its own and no longer considered a colony of the British Empire.