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The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every Canadian child will be taught about the battle of Vimy Ridge, which history marks as an iconic milestone in shaping Canada’s national identity. I think it’s important for our kids to know the parts their country played in those two world conflicts, and the costs. I have shared my family’s story with my kids because I want them to understand the personal cost. After the war, our world had to learn to reconcile our differences and strive to build a better world for the next generation.

This weekend, my aunt share a story that has been a 100 years in the making!

In 1917, following the battle of Vimy Ridge, Lt. Miller went for a walk on the battlefield, and gathered a handful of acorns. The regal oak trees he had written about seeing all over France, were destroyed. He sent those acorns to his family in Canada and asked that they be planted. Two years later, he returned home, married his sweetheart and started his farm, Vimy Oaks. The small acorns were starting too.

Tall  oaks from little acorns grow. – Proverb

In 1950, a random veteran saw the farm’s sign and decided to make inquiries. The two veterans of Vimy became fast friends, often working together on Miller’s farm. Miller, not having children of his own, enjoyed the company of the veteran and his boys. After the farm was sold in the 1960’s, one of the boys, Monty, continued to visit the Millers. Lt. Miller passed away in 1979 at the age of 90.

In 2004, Monty took his wife to Europe to retrace his father’s war experiences and visit the Vimy Memorial. He was struck by the bare landscape, and he started to think about the Oaks at the Farm.

Ideas are acorns. They’re only powerful because that acorn becomes an oak tree. – Bob Clemans

By 2014, the oaks were 10 metres high. With the help of the Vimy Foundation and a local nursery, shoots from the acorns were grafted onto root stock from British Columbian oaks. But the process to certify them for transportation to France was too complex.

In the Summer of 2016, Monty and his grandchildren gathered acorns from the Vimy Oak grove. They were taken to a nursery in France, where they were germinated and continue to grow. Meanwhile, with the help of donations, a small parcel of land has been purchased near the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, and once it has been de-mined in 2018, the tiny oaks will be planted. Beauty after the battle.

May our children, like these acorns, grow tall and strong and steadfast,
and may they always know peace.

 

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