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Red River Heritage Fair
Nursing Sisters: Were They Forgotten?
The Canadian Nursing Sisters were brave and dedicated women who served our country and the world. They served in the Northwest Rebellion, the Boer War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War. It is a story of unyielding women who brave all the hardships of the war to do their duty and care for their patients, and of those who nursed the casualties left in the wake of war.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
The soldiers affectionately called the Nursing Sisters “Bluebirds” because of their blue dresses and white veils. It was only after World War I that the Nursing Sisters earned the most respect from the world and became recognized. The Nursing Sisters were the first Canadian women to vote in a federal election (1917) because of their bravery in World War I. This led the way to other Canadian women achieving the right to vote. To honour the Nursing Sisters for their service, sacrifices and heroism, a beautiful Nursing Sisters’ Memorial was erected in the Hall of Honour at the Parliament Building in Ottawa.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
Those Nursing Sisters served and helped, and never gave up to the last of their strength and even to their last breath. They healed the sick, they treated the wounded and they comforted the dying. They sacrificed their lives and happiness, they endured the loneliness away from their loved ones, all to make sure that they would fulfill their duties and responsibilities to serve their country by caring for and comforting the wounded soldiers. They were called “Angels of Mercy” for good reason!
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
Peace, unity and freedom are the three gifts that I, and all of us, are enjoying right now, thanks to the heroic Nursing Sisters and the soldiers they healed. The Nursing Sisters endured and sacrificed their lives during the war by serving and helping the injured and sick soldiers. They knew it could cost them their lives but they chose to serve anyway. My life is so much easier in comparison because I am not in danger of dying, I am not worried about a bomb dropping on me, and I am enjoying peace and freedom because of the brave Nursing Sisters and the soldiers they cared for. This project is my way to say thank you to them!