Remembrance Day is tomorrow, and Altona's Hometown Heritage is inviting the community to its store to take a moment to reflect on some of those from the area who served in World War II. Co-Owner Tina Schmidt, along with her husband Aaron, curated the display which includes items like uniforms, medals and trench art.
"I think it's important to remember the people who have come and gone before us," stressed Schmidt. "When I wanted to put up the Remembrance Day display this year, I thought how fitting it would be since we have some artifacts from people who are local, and were part of World War II in some way or another. To display those artifacts, and have people have something real and tangible they can see and touch, I think it makes it a lot more real. It brings home the message of this happened, this is what people went through, and I think that's the part we wanted to honour and remember."
Some of the items in the display are from the family of Altona WWII veteran, the late Art Braun, including several uniforms and medals.
"Some people, I'm sure, know him and his family, and we are fortunate enough to have possession of them, and thought that would be a really great thing to have in the display," explained Schmidt. "People will come in, and they will recognize who Art was and who his family is. Maybe they had no idea these things existed, but now that you see it, again, it just has that impact where maybe it didn't have that impact before when you just read about it in a book."
Schmidt's favourite item is a war time log book, which was part of a collection of military memorabilia the couple purchased. The log book belonged to the late Arthur Brown of Winnipeg.
"It's a compilation of poems and letters, pictures, a variety of different things, this gentleman hand wrote when he was a prisoner of war in World War II," she said. "Some of the documents have been very impactful for me, and I think if other people read them and see them, they'll also see that connection, because it makes it all very personal. You really get to know somebody when they're going through something hard, and you see what they're writing and what they're feeling."
The war time log book on display is a copy of the original document, so visitors can handle it without fear of damaging the nearly 80 year old artifact.
Schmidt also encourages visitors to closely look at the trench art in the display, which is engravings on spent shells and other metal containers.
"If you just look at it, you're going to say, okay, interesting, they're old, but when you take a closer look, you'll see that somebody took a lot of time and engraved some pretty intricate pictures on them, which most people know as trench art," she noted. "It's one of those things where you have to see it to really appreciate it."
And after spending a considerable amount of time curating the display, why does Schmidt feel it's important to make a point to reflect and remember on November 11th?
"When something has happened so long ago, we we put it in the past, we think I'll read about it in a book, but it's not that," she said. "It was very impactful to millions and millions of people, and I think for us to not honour it, and not take the time to step back and really think about what people have done for us to give us the life we have now is doing them a disservice. I think it's important for us to take a step back, and really appreciate what they gave, so we can have."
You can listen to CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Co-Host Chris Sumner's conversation with Tina Schmidt, below.
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