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Sandeep Singh Brar | Toronto, Canada
Posted: 01:00 AM | November 10, 2010

A Call to Rememberance

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Photo Source: Sandeep Singh Brar

Honour guard at the grave of Private Buckam Singh - Sergeant Baltej Singh Dhillon, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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Photo Source: Sandeep Singh Brar

Scottish bag piper Alex Klausnitzer leads the military march

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Photo Source: Sandeep Singh Brar

Corporal J. Singh, MP, with family, and Lieutenant Deep Singh Bains, Canadian Forces

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Photo Source: Sandeep Singh Brar

Senior ranking officer of the day, Captain Prabhjot Singh Dhanoa, Canadian Forces, leads the march

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Sergeant Baltej Singh Dhillon, British Columbia Provincial Intelligence Centre, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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Corporal Gagandeep Kaur Banga, Royal Canadian Air Cadets

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Lieutenant Deep Singh Bains (left) and Corporal J. Singh MP (right), Canadian Forces

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Photo Source: Sandeep Singh Brar

Sikh veterans

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Grave of Private Buckam Singh, 20th Canadian Infantry. The only military grave in Canada of a Sikh soldier from the World Wars

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Victory Medal of Private Buckam Singh that led to the discovery of his story and grave. The only known surviving war medal of a Canadian Sikh soldier.

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Photo Source: Sandeep Singh Brar

Leaders of the Golden Triangle Sikh Association lay a wreath on behalf of the Sikh community

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Captain Prabhjot Singh Dhanoa and Private Charlie Wu lay a wreath on behalf of the Canadain Forces

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Sergeant Gurmit Singh Saroya, Indian Air Force and Captain Mohabat Singh, 7th Sikh Regiment lay a wreath on behalf of veterans

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Honourable Member of Parliament Peter Braid, Waterloo-Conestoga flanked by Honourable Steven Woodworth Member of Parliament, Kitchener Central and Honourable Navdeep Singh Bains Member of Parliament Mississauga Brampton South, lay a wreath on behalf of all public servants

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Photo Source: Sandeep Singh Brar

All photos by Sandeep Singh Brar. For more information, visit www.sikhmuseum.com

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The following is the author's eulogy for fallen Sikh soldiers at the Annual Sikh Remembrance Service on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at the Mount Hope Cemetery, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

We are gathered here today not to glorify war over peace; or to assert a soldier's character above a civilian's; or one race or one nation or one religion above another; or the role of the soldier in one war over any other war or military duty.

Instead we are gathered here to remember; to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We are here to remember our veterans and say that your service will not be forgotten, and we are here to remember and to say 'Thank You' to those who are serving to protect our freedom and security every day.

Today we stand here in a special place for this ceremony. We stand at the only military grave in all of Canada of a Sikh-Canadian soldier from the World Wars. We are privileged to be standing at the grave of Private Buckam Singh of the 20th Canadian Infantry Battalion.

A hero wounded in two battles in France almost 90 years ago, who at the young age of 25 paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country and who was buried here by the Canadian military with honour and dignity but without any family present at a time when there were hardly any Sikhs in all of eastern Canada.


With the discovery of Buckam Singh's war medal has come the discovery of his remarkable story and this once forgotten grave. A circle has been completed and this Sikh-Canadian soldier has been reunited with all of us, his extended family and Canada has reclaimed the remarkable story of a national hero and pioneer.

The history of war is the history of both hope and despair representing the best and the worst of humanity. As time marches on we would like to think that the world is becoming more peaceful place, yet the sacrifices that Buckam Singh made almost a century ago, continue to be made today.

I was going to stand here today and read to you some statistics about how many Sikhs have fought and died in the World Wars and how many Canadian soldiers have died. But instead I'm not because even one life lost in war is one too many.

My thoughts today turn to 22-year old Corporal Brian Pinksen of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment who died in a military hospital in Germany recently after being wounded in Afghanistan. Another young life of potential tragically cut short, another name, another grieving family, another maple leaf on a grave stone and now another statistic.

How many more Brian Pinksens or Buckam Singhs will there need to be before we achieve that elusive peace that we all seek.

I leave you with a poem as you think about that question.

THERE WILL BE NO PEACE

by David Roberts

There will be no peace:
till attitudes change;
till self-interest is seen as part of common interest;
till old wrongs, old scores, old mistakes are deleted from the account;
till the aim becomes co-operation and mutual benefit
rather than revenge or seizing maximum personal or group gain;
till justice and equality before the law become the basis of government;
till basic freedoms exist;
till leaders - political, religious, educational - and the police and media
wholeheartedly embrace the concepts of justice, equality, freedom, tolerance,
and reconciliation as a basis for renewal;
till parents teach their children new ways to think about people.
There will be no peace:
till enemies become fellow human beings.

____________________

Sandeep Singh Brar is curator of SikhMuseum.com and organizes an annual remembrance service on behalf of the Sikh community.

Commentaries are the opinions of the authors, and not necessarily that of Sikh News Network.





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