During the presentation at the Galt Museum on November 1, retired Warrant Officer Glenn Miller mentioned Canadian author Jean Miso's newest book, titled In Their Words.
“She does a lot of work for the military and raising funds for different causes,” Miller said.
Miso became inspired to write books about the military because her grandfather, Acting Sergeant Elmer McKenzie fought in the First World War and since 2010, she has written five books about various military topics.
The first of Miso's book is We’ll Never Forget and N’oublions jamais, a Francophone translation of the book is also available, and it shows the changing face of our Veterans throughout World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, Peacekeepers, and Afghanistan.
Their Duty, Our Pride, Miso's second book, focuses on the current Canadian Armed Forces; each person across the three services talks about their trade and what they do for Canada.
Miso's third book, Legacy & Tradition centers on the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, which is a reserve unit that works with the OPP on ground search and rescue.
Vimy! Valour! Victory!, Miso's fourth book, is very much a companion book to In Their Words. Again, by using 100 year old primary sources, such as soldiers diaries, archived military documents and photos that have been colourized from that era, the book centres on the lead-up and offensive actions for the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Miso's most recent book, In Their Words, centres on the final 100 days of the First World War from a Canadian perspective and captures the soldiers’ thoughts until they reach Canada. The book came to fruition through 100 year old primary sources, such as soldiers diaries, archived military documents and photos that have been colourized from that era, the book “All my books, except In Their Words come with an original song that I have composed,” Miso said. “The CD is attached to the back inside cover. The song We’ll Never Forget and N’oublions jamais was selected to be the theme song for the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy France, and I was invited to sing the song from my Vimy book, A Letter from Home at Vimy 100. Both songs can be seen on YouTube.”
Miso became inspired you to engage in a writing career back when she wrote her first song, We’ll Never Forget in 2008 for the students that she taught music through sign language to at a specialized school for students with developmental disabilities. People urged Miso to do more with the song, and so Miso used the song to create her first book.
Along with writing military-themed books, Miso also raises funds for the military and to date, she has raised over $60,000 to support Remembrance and Veterans. Miso has purchased a monument that sits on Hill 70 in France and recognizes the sacrifices of the Canadian soldiers in World War One and has also purchased 20 bricks at the Juno Beach Centre, one brick for each veteran that is mentioned in her first book.
“All my books are primary sourced information,” Miso said. “I interviewed those soldiers and veterans who are in my first three books. For my Vimy book and In Their Words book, I researched material at the Canadian War Museum and Library Archives Canada. Each book is different and based on the material through interviews and research, I come up with a design. I have an excellent team who support me in doing graphic design, layout design, editing, proof reading and printing. My team works hard to see that all books are unique, interesting and relevant; they keep me honest.”
In addition, Miso has supported the Canada Company MET program, supported an Artillery Gun initiative (building of the McCrae statue in Ottawa), two Military Family Resource Centers, the National Poppy Fund, the Last Post Fund (burial), and is currently focused on purchasing a home for homeless Veterans that will be built in London, Ont.
In 2012, Miso was granted the honor of receiving a Commanders Commendation for her dedication in educating the Canadian public and for her support of Canada’s military. Two years after that, Miso received a Veterans Affairs Commendation for her outreach and commitment to veterans.
“I believe that the core values our Canadian Armed Forces men and women possess, both past and present, must be understood and emulated by all Canadians,” Miso said. “Their great service and sacrifice for our great country needs to be front and centre in our minds every day of the year. By putting out these books, I have provided a medium for dialogue and understanding.”
Miso and her journey of work has been covered by both CBC TV and Radio. Global News also made a 20- minute documentary about Miso's first book, and several newspapers have featured her story. Miso has also sung her songs at Juno Beach, Vimy Ridge, Men in Gate in Belgium, Florence Italy and at ceremonies in Ontario and Quebec.
“I believe that it is necessary to educate our youth about service and sacrifices made a long time ago – right up to our current times,” Miso said. “I am trying to find a variety of forums to educate youth in order for remembrance to continue in the generations that follow. I go into schools and give talks about war; I bring artifacts with me for students to touch and connect with the past. I have my books and songs that support remembrance.
Miso is also the Ontario representative for No Stone Left Alone and uses that responsibility to bring students, community and Canadian Armed Forces men and women together for a service of remembrance in a military cemetery. The families of those mentioned in Miso's books have expressed their gratitude to Miso for her work through email, letters, and in-person interactions. “I am pleased that my presentations, ceremony, books and songs are well received,” Miso said. “I just know that I cannot stop my train…there are Veterans who depend on me giving them a voice.”