Friday, October 24, 2014

Charles reflects on Canada’s war history

HALIFAX—Prince Charles reflected on Canada’s contribution to the Second World War before he and his wife, Camilla, went on a royal walkabout yesterday among hundreds of people in Halifax—their first stop in a tour of three provincial capitals.
Canada’s military involvement was a central theme of the royal couple’s tour of Halifax, a naval city where 500,000 military personnel embarked on transatlantic journeys to serve during the Second World War.

Charles commented on the number of soldiers, sailors, and airmen from Canada who fought to liberate Europe as the 75th anniversary of the start of the war approaches—calling it “an extraordinary contribution” from a country with a small population.
Later, Charles and Camilla met military families at a resource centre that helps them with a number of programs ranging from nutrition to mental health services while their loved ones are on deployment.
They watched a ball hockey game in a parking lot outside the centre while inside Camilla shook hands with a puppet who was entertaining a group of children.
Ordinary Seaman Matthew Hunt, 23, who volunteers at the centre, met the royal couple dressed in a yellow banana costume to promote healthy eating.
He said he didn’t hesitate to wear the brightly-coloured costume when asked.
“I’m a little lost for words, it’s something I never thought I would do,” Hunt said after the meeting.
Puppeteer Melissa Connell, 35, also met the royals.
“They were very nice, they interacted with all the families, that was really exciting to see,” said Connell, who works at the centre.
“It was great to see them shake hands and chat with the children.”
The Duchess of Cornwall made a separate visit to the Northbrook Community Centre in suburban Dartmouth for a private meeting with representatives of Alice Housing, which provides shelter and counselling for women and children escaping domestic abuse.
The prince also planted a tree at the city’s Public Gardens—continuing a tradition started by King George VI in June, 1939.
The visit by the Prince of Wales and the duchess is meant to celebrate Canada’s past and future at a time when a number of significant anniversaries will be commemorated over the next few years, including the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
Another is the 150th anniversary this year of the Charlottetown Conference, which led to Confederation in 1867.
“Our visit will focus on Canadian achievements as part of a major celebration of the past and the future,” Charles said in the first of four speeches he will make during the trip.
“One hundred and fifty years ago, the foundations for a new country, which would be proud of its traditions and excited by its future, were first laid in Charlottetown and Quebec City,” he noted.
“Based on the principle of freedom and justice inherited from two great European nations, the Dominion of Canada was to become a reality three years later.”

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