Canada didn’t understand at first what you were doing, but understands now, and as time goes on, you will have more friends, more honour, because you have done one of the most gallant things done in history” Reverend Salem Bland Toronto Union station greeting returning International Brigades
This November 11th a Canada wide Remembrance Day tribute to the Mackenzie - Papineau Battalion (MacPaps) is being organized. Last year, more than 25 volunteers from coast to coast helped pay tribute to the volunteers from Canada who were part of the International Brigades by laying a white rose at the known graves location. Ray Hoff started this initiative in Canada last year after doing it for many years in the US. He has done extensive research to map the known MacPap graves across the country.
Last year, it was very emotional to be able to pay tribute to such incredible individuals -a group that travelled so far and gave up everything to fight fascism in Spain. On November 11th, the MacPaps are not officially recognized at Remembrance Day ceremonies so for me this tribute was very meaningful.
I feel like I already know many of these men as part of the research for my documentary. To be at their gravesides laying a white rose and International Brigade flag was an incredible honour. To see so many of these men in unmarked and common graves was truly heartbreaking.
More information about the MacPaps and the tribute is in this this Global news article.
We are hoping to build on this initiative this year and get even more volunteers involved. It would be amazing to have someone visit all of the known graves and pay tribute.
If you would like to participate this November 11, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
These are just some of the comments from the volunteers who participated in Honouring the Mac-Paps in 2018.
"I feel grateful for the education this has brought me and the meaningful purpose on this upcoming Remembrance day."
"Thank you for inspiring us to join the movement to remember these good men."
" I found this very moving, and such a worthwhile way to mark Remembrance Day. "