Langley resident Melvin Anderson has medals to show for his service for the Canadian Military involved in the Korean War in the early 1950s. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Korean War vet dedicates poppy torch to In Flanders Fields author

Melvin Anderson served in Korea in the early 1950s, and now visits local schools

Decorated Korean War veteran Melvin Anderson has a message for elementary school students.

“War is hell but it’s a necessary evil,” the Langley resident said. “We fought for the freedom enjoyed in Canada today.”

For the past five years, Anderson has visited local schools to talk about the sacrifices made by Canada’s military personnel, past and present.

This year, he brought along with him to Cloverdale schools a torch made out of poppies, as a tribute to the timeless poem, In Flanders Fields, penned in 1915 by Canadian physician, Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John McCrae.

“It’s hard to read,” McCrae said, about In Flanders Fields.

“It breaks me up.”

Dedicated to McCrae, Anderson’s homemade poppy torch is inspired by the line in the poem, “To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high.”

“I thought, ‘how about I make a poppy torch?’” Anderson shared. “What’s more honourable than a poppy torch?”

He says he spent “three or four hours” putting the model together.”

Anderson said Remembrance Day ceremonies he has attended in the past have been very emotional for him.

Last November at the Cloverdale cenotaph, he laid down four wreaths including one for the Korean war, and another for the working horses killed during the First World War.

“There were over 60,000 horses killed in the First World War,” he said.

“That’s a lot of horses.”

Anderson joined the military in 1950 because, he said, “I always wanted to be a soldier.”

In Korea, he served as a Vickers Machine Gunner from 1952 to ’53. “They ordered us to fire in a certain position and we did. You just did what you’re told.”

“That was a terrible war,” Anderson said. “The military suffered a lot in Korea but in my estimation, the Korean people suffered even more than we did.”

 

Langley resident Melvin Anderson has medals to show for his service for the Canadian Military involved in the Korean War in the early 1950s. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Langley resident Melvin Anderson has medals to show for his service for the Canadian Military involved in the Korean War in the early 1950s. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Just Posted

Police investigate string of overnight fires in North Delta

Suspected arson caused damage to vehicles, signage in the area, Delta Police say

SD78 trustee advocates for defibrillators in schools

Says machines could save lives of students, staff

Chilliwack boy drops puck at Canucks fight cancer game

Carter Johnston, 11, fighting osteosarcoma and has a growing, prosthetic leg

Lest we forget

Agassiz, Harrison, Kent remember and honour veterans, first responders

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Most Read