Last week, Canada’s Governor General unveiled a statue of famed WWI poet – and Guelph son – Col. John McCrae to commemorate the 100th anniversary of In Flanders Fields. While McCrae is now world-famous for penning the poem on the battle fields of Ypres, Governor General David Johnston pointed out that he was one of the best doctors of his time.
“It’s not widely known that, prior to the war, McCrae interned with Dr. William Osler, the renowned Canadian who has been called ‘the father of modern medicine.’ In fact, McCrae’s teacher and mentor, Dr. John Adami of McGill University, called McCrae “the most talented physician of his generation.” – His Excellency GG David Johnston
The observation highlights the power of art to capture our hearts and minds for a century, superseding our recollection of his other significant talents, accomplishments and contributions. It echoes a conclusion drawn by another famous Canadian Colonel, Chris Hadfield.
First Canadian Commander of the International Space Station, test pilot, NASA’s voice of mission control to astronauts in orbit for 25 space shuttle missions, author, musician, global inspiration – to name a few, Hadfield names Is Somebody Singing? as his greatest accomplishment in decades of literally stellar accomplishments.
ISS — Is Somebody Singing, is a song co-written by Hadfield and Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson to celebrate the Coalition for Music Education’s annual Music Monday in 2013. The song was one thing – it was the sing-along Hadfield led with thousands of school children from the International Space Station that was an unprecedented unifying experience. At a conference I attended last May, Commander Hadfield said its importance was the extraordinary power of art to reach and unite us, to empower every school child to believe that they too could go to space in a way not other medium could.
On this Canada Day I am toasting these two great Canadians, our role in the world and to more enduring art, poetry and music!
Bonne Fête Canada!