ALAN FREW

Musician. Author. Speaker.

LEST WE FORGET...

 Snuneymuxw First Nations  

Snuneymuxw First Nations  

 Nanaimo, (2016 Census population 90,504) is a city on the east coast of Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia. It is known as "The Harbour City". The Indigenous peoples of the area that is now known as Nanaimo are the Snuneymuxw. An anglicised spelling and pronunciation of that word gave the city its current name.

The first Europeans to find Nanaimo Bay were those of the 1791 Spanish voyage of Juan Carrasco, under the command of Francisco de Eliza. They gave it the name Bocas de Winthuysen.

 “Hello again Nanaimo.”

“Hello again Nanaimo.”

Nanaimo began as a trading post in the early 19th century. In 1849, the Snuneymuxw chief Ki-et-sa-kun ("Coal Tyee") informed the Hudson’s Bay Company of coal in the area. Exploration proved there was plenty of it in the area and Nanaimo became chiefly known for the export of coal. As I walked around the town it came flooding back to me that earlier this year, while we were out on tour with Johnny Reid, I blogged on Nanaimo on March 1st, so no wonder I feel like a know the place!! I feel like I was just here yesterday!

Yet another lovely spot in this beautiful province of British Columbia, it’s much chillier today, but nothing like what goes on at this time of year elsewhere in Canada. I could handle this weather for winter anytime.

We had a solid show in Nanaimo with quite a few personal guests and friends coming out. Quiet drink together back at hotel with a civilized lobby call for our drive tomorrow to the ferry for our return to the mainland. Tomorrow’s show in North Vancouver marks the last one of this western run. 

 Just one more to go..... 

Just one more to go..... 


Nov 11th .....Remembrance Day/Armistice Day/ Veteran’s Day

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All aboard “The Queen of Cowichan” Ferry by 10:00a.m. and immediately headed to breakfast together. Everyone on board took part in something special thanks to our Captain.....

At precisely 11:00a.m. he brought the ferry to a halt and all on board observed two minutes of perfect silence to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the War of 1914-1918, for today is Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in the Commonwealth of Nations to honour those heroes. Traditionally too, it has grown informally to honour ALL veterans who have served their nation(s) proudly in times of conflict. I know that I reflect just as much on soldiers who have died in more recent times, in say, Afghanistan, as I do those of my grandfather’s era who perished in the GREAT WAR of 1914-18. They are ALL heroes, bonded together in honour and in sacrifice and many of the privileges of freedom we take for granted today have come at the price of that sacrifice. They and their families, forever altered, forever pained. Broken but proud.

 

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Remembrance Day is observed on November 11th, for it was on that date in 1918 that the hostilities of Wold War One formally ended "at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month", in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. ("At the 11th hour" refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am.) The First World War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.

 

Our military brothers and sisters are near and dear to Glass Tiger’s heart and we have been honoured and privileged to go overseas to be with with them on numerous occasions. I personally have gone to at least 14 or so locations to be with them, beginning with Bosnia back in the 90’s and I have travelled to far-off places like Kuwait, Greenland, Oman, Alert, and Afghanistan four times. I have also been with them in the Golan Heights of Israel and in Egypt. In the USA, November 11th is known as Veterans Day, to honour those who have served in the U.S. Military. I have met many U.S. marines on bases shared with Canadians and other allies and they have always been kind, gracious and welcoming to us. Performing for them is an honour and a pleasure, but my favourite thing is to join them for breakfasts and lunches and dinners where we get to know them as people. Finding out where they are from, their high school, who their sweetheart is at home or hearing about their families and friends. It’s my favourite part of being over there. Of course so many of them are just too young to ever know who Glass Tiger is but two things always happens. One, the older guys and gals MAKE SURE THEY KNOW who Glass Tiger is 😂 and two, just like civilian audiences with young people attending, if we get up there and “kill it” then we win them over and they forever know who we are. 

 

 

 Glass Tiger Afghanistan tour.  

Glass Tiger Afghanistan tour.  

They are some of the most selfless people I have ever known and I love visiting with them. I have actually been in Afghanistan when that selflessness culminates in them sacrificing their lives to save others. Glass Tiger was present on one occasion when three of our lads were killed and the experience of having to take the stage to perform for them, followed by a “ramp ceremony” to repatriate the three dead back to Canada, is something I will never forget. It was my job up on stage prior to the ceremony to remind the living, that we must continue to celebrate life and keep on living and laughing and loving, for if we don’t, then the bad guys win. And so thousands of us sang and danced under the sky of Kandahār, only to then transfer ourselves to the tarmac of the airstrip and solemnly stand silent as the caskets of the three boys passed by us and were boarded on to the C17 for the journey home to Canada.

 Ramp Ceremony. The “ultimate sacrifice.” 

Ramp Ceremony. The “ultimate sacrifice.” 


When we ourselves were just kids, we tended to look up to persons of authority and see them as strong, mature,grown ups. They were, “men & women”. Then of course when you, yourself, mature and hit, say, 40 and up, you realize that in actual fact, so many of the military are just kids. Seriously, at 18, 19 and early 20’s, so young, with so much to live for. Fun story. Sam and I were on a very private, very secure base, plonked right in the middle of Kandahār and on this base were heavy duty troops. Kandahār or Qandahār is the second-largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 557,118. Formerly called Alexandria Arachosia, the city is named after Alexander the Great, who founded it in 329 BC around an ancient Arachosian town. So here we are amongst elite forces of the highest order both Canadian and American. Sam has a tiny little keyboard and I, only a crappy little microphone that plugged into the keyboard and my voice was projected through the damn thing along with his piano playing. Now in among the Canadian elites were two women who had cracked the team. Two women who had completed any test both physically and mentally that any man had completed. These women were tough gals. Serious shit. But I had been told ahead of time of their love for Glass Tiger and how they had just been “screaming little girls” back in 1986 when they first saw us. At the assigned moment I had two chairs brought up to me and just before we played, ‘SOMEDAY’ I called out thier names and asked them to come sit in the chairs. Well let me tell you, these two, elite, highly skilled, highly trained, “killing machines” became those two little girls again as I serenaded them as if no others were there. It was a sight to behold and one of the sweetest things I have ever witnessed as an entertainer who has done thousands upon thousands of shows. Precious moments that one never forgets. 

 Precious moments one never forgets. 

Precious moments one never forgets. 

These days, during a typical Glass Tiger performance, I always take the time to recognize the men and women in uniform and always will. I also encourage those who may be so inclined, that if they see a man or woman in uniform at an airport or a bus stop or train station, to take a moment out of their lives to approach them and give them a handshake or a thank you, maybe even a hug, for their service. Remembering too, that it’s equally as important to honour and respect them when their days of service are over and they are no longer in uniform. I had the honour not too long ago, of being on the cover of the military families magazine where the topic of our “homeless veterans” was front and centre. It is so important for our governments to do all they can to assist these returning heroes after their service is over. All too often the mental scars are far greater then any visible ones. Surely providing food, shelter, pensions, jobs, health care etc is but the very least we can do for them? Goodness knows they have more than earned it. THANK YOU TO ALL who have helped us enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today. THANK YOU ALSO TO YOUR FAMILIES....for the love and support and dedication they give to you in order for you to be able to serve your countries.

LEST WE FORGET.❤️

The red Remembrance Day poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem, “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian physician, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.

 

 Lest We Forget. 

Lest We Forget. 

Tough to say, but I am old enough to remember wearing a “real poppy” before they all seemed to vanish and be replaced by the plastic ones that we know and wear today. It’s the poppy of course that is the source of the crude drug opium which contains powerful medicinal alkaloids such as morphine and has been used since ancient times as an analgesic and narcotic medicinal and recreational drug, causing it to be outlawed in many parts of the world.

Meanwhile, back in my immediate world we had one last show to do.

North Vancouver is known for hiking and skiing trails in the forested North Shore Mountains, including Grouse Mountain, whose Skyride cable car offers sweeping city views. High suspension bridges straddle popular Capilano Canyon and tranquil Lynn Canyon.

 Capilano Canyon. 

Capilano Canyon. 

Moodyville (at the south end of Moody Avenue, now Moodyville Park), is the oldest settlement on Burrard Inlet, predating Vancouver: only New Westminster is the older non-native settlement in the region. Logging came to the virgin forests of Douglas Fir in North Vancouver, as sailing ships called in to load. A water-powered sawmill was set up in the 1860s at Moodyville, by Sewell Moody. Subsequently, post offices, schools and a village sprang up. In time, the municipality of North Vancouver (which encompassed the entire North Shore from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay) was incorporated in 1891. In the 1880s, Arthur Haywood-Lonsdale and a relation James Pemberton Fell, made substantial investments through their company, Lonsdale Estates, and in 1882 he financed the Moodyville investments. Several locations in the North Vancouver area are named after Lonsdale and his family.

Tonight’s show was not only our last show here in British Colombia, it was also our last show with Jessica Michell opening for us. THANK YOU JESSICA you are a fabulous talent and we really were honoured to have you with us. See you again soon. Let’s write!! 

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THANKS JESSICA.....tell JENNIFER I said hello! 😂

 So there ya have it. Our little western haunt is over until the next time. Thanks to ALL OF YOU for coming out to see us. I trust by the fun time we had that we ALL enjoyed ourselves. As I write these last few words I am sitting in a warm tub IN MY OWN HOME with my OWN BED AWAITING ME!! I am back at it on Wednesday live in Sarnia, Ontario and I will blog you from there. Until that time....Goodnight all..... ❤️

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He remembers ....