Prairie Sacrifice - Soldiers of Soil
Remembrance Day touches all of us in one capacity or another. For many of us, we’ve had the privilege of being unaffected by war. And for that very reason alone, we need to continue to appreciate their many sacrifices for our current way of life.
But do any of us know about the role that the Canadian Prairies played in support of World War I, or rather the true conflict and sacrifices made by farmers to support the war effort?
In 1918, the Canadian Food Board established and initiative called, Soldiers of the Soil. With so many men off fighting in the war, it was up to young adolescent boys to work the farms. Many were volunteers from urban high schools that were expected to live on rural farms for at least 3 months or more. In exchange for their backbreaking work, they had room and board, a little spending money and in some cases, they were exempted from classes and or exams.
Other provinces may not have had a formal program such as this one, but rural women stepped up to the plate and contributed extensively to farm work, as they had before the war, the only difference now, many women did so without their husbands, sons, or labourers to assist. Despite these challenges, it was this type of lonely, back-breaking labour that helped Canada to supply its Allies with war-winning material and food supplies for Britain and Canada. Many posters implored those that could not fight, to produce more crops.
In the First World War that spanned 4 years from 1914 - 1918, there were 625,825 that served, 61,082 gave their lives for our freedom, another 154,361 were wounded; either in mind or body, most of them both.
Aspen Crossing honours all of those who fought and sacrificed so much for our way of life today not only here on the Alberta prairies, but for our entire country. May peace be with us all!
The following video clip of the Ogden Legion Caboose has some history tied to WWI, watch and you’ll see why we always celebrate our railway ties!