End of an Era – Jack Babcock
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John “Jack” Babcock, the man believed to be the last surviving Canadian to have served in the First World War, died at age 109 in Spokane, Washington on February 18, 2010.

Mr. Babcock was born July 23, 1900 and grew up on a farm in Kingston, Ontario. He was only 15 years old when he enlisted. After the war, Mr. Babcock moved to the United States where he remained until his passing.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canadians have lost a living link to a past that connects us all. Mr. Babcock’s passing, he said, marks the end of an era.

“There are no more known Canadian Veterans of the First World War to recall the trials and devastation of that era,” Prime Minister Harper said. “However, their voices and stories live on. They live on in our commitment to never forget, to cherish the values they fought for and to remember their sacrifices.”

The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), said Mr. Babcock’s passing marks the sad turning of a page. “There is no one left to tell us first-hand about this defining time in our history,” said Minister Blackburn.

“It now becomes our duty—more than ever—to remember and honour their great sacrifices and their great achievements. We will never forget them.”

A national commemorative ceremony honouring all of Canada’s First World War service men and women will be held on “Vimy Ridge Day,” Friday, April 9, 2010 in Ottawa at the National War Memorial. There will also be ceremonies at both the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France and at the Canada Memorial at Green Park in London, England. Excerpt from Veterans Affairs Canada

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