Padre Min Kim’s Cogitatio on Perseverance
When we are persistent in achieving our aims and goals despite pressing challenges and difficulties, there is a word that depicts our persistence. It is “perseverance.” I’m fond of taking an epistemological excursion in finding the root of words. The word “perseverance” is originated from Latin perseverus (per + severus), meaning “very strict, stern, serious” in a literal sense, from which we also have the word “severity” in English. What is the root of the word severus then? It means se (without) + verus (kindness). “Perseverance” would then literally mean “truly without kindness (to self).”
A fundamental ethical principle we share in the military is to serve Canada before self. This principle demands more than one’s patience or self-control in a given situation. In fact, it requires us to be “very strict, stern, serious” with what we are doing for the country to the point where we even sacrifice ourselves for a greater cause. In doing so, we are to persevere over and over again. In this respect, the motto of “Perseverance” well elucidates the spirit of our Regiment.
We know the story of Lt Flowerdew during the Battle of Moreuil Wood in France. It was during the First World War, where a great number of German troops with heavy machine guns were advancing at Moreuil Wood. The Canadian Cavalry Brigade, which comprised of LdSH(RC), the Royal Canadian Dragoons, and the Fort Garry Horse, engaged in a battle to thwart the German advance. The Royal Canadian Dragoons positioned and advanced along the west side of Moreuil Wood. On the north-east side of the wood, while A and B Sqns of LdSH(RC) were advancing dismounted on the wood itself, C Sqn, under the command of Lt Flowerdew, came upon a large group of Germans on the eastern edge of the wood. Lt Flowerdew’s command, “It’s a charge boys! Charge!” echoed the spirit of perseverance. The victory was won but at a great cost. 38 soldiers were killed and over 110 wounded, including Lt Flowerdew who was mortally wounded before being awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions.
The Battle of Moreuil Wood precisely defined what “Perseverance” would come to mean for the Strathcona’s. While every year the 30th of March is special and memorable, this year even more so as we celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Battle. By commemorating it, we not only remember the fallen soldiers but remind ourselves of the heroic perseverance of Lt Flowerdew and his soldiers in which we learn to live in this Regimental spirit.