“Surgite” may make a fine Latin motto for Brock University, but when Sir Isaac Brock was shot, he likely died instantly without a chance to anything, says David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye.
Maj.-Gen Sir Isaac Brock, described once by the Globe and Mail as “the reason there’s such a thing as Canada,” was fighting at the Battle of Queenston
Heights when he died on Oct 13, 1812. His last words, “push on” (or surgite in Latin) were supposedly directed toward the York volunteers battling alongside Brock’s forces.
But if he said them, he likely said them before his injury, said Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, a History professor.
“If you look at his uniform, you can see that he was shot through the heart,” he said. “When you’re shot through the heart, you don’t have time to say anything.”
With or without the last words, Brock’s death, and his contribution to Canadian history, is commemorated each year with a Brock University flag lowering and commemoration event. This year’s event will be on Oct. 14, 199 years and one day after the famous leader’s death.
The tribute begins at 10:45 a.m. with the Fort George Fife and Drum Corps and uniformed re-enactors marching along University Road to the Schmon Tower. The service will begin at 11 a.m. and last about 30 minutes. It involves musket fire and a bugle sounding the last post.
Schimmelpenninck van der Oye was one of the founders of the annual event when it began in 2008. It’s a student event founded for students to enjoy, he said.
“Older universities have a lot of undergraduate traditions,” he said. “We thought we needed more of our own traditions.”
This year’s event is hosted by the Brock 1812 Bicentenary Committee. It is free and all are welcome. It wraps up with hot apple cider at Isaac’s.
Sir Isaac Flag Lowering and Commemoration
When: Friday, Oct. 14
Time: 10:45 a.m.
Place: in front of the Schmon Tower