Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Remembrance

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada (I know it is elsewhere also, anyone want to tell me about their country's Nov. 11 traditions?). When I was growing up, all elementary school kids would memorize poems to recite to honor this day. There was a contest with the winners reciting at the town's Remembrance Day service. I think when I was a kid there were many World War II veterans in my town, but now that I'm old(er) there are only one or two veterans from that era left. I love the fact that we set aside a day to remember our veterans and those who have died fighting for freedom for others.

This was my favorite of those poems, one that most Canadian kids of my generation will likely know by heart still, 30 years after having memorized it:

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCrae

Currently our soldiers are in Afghanistan fighting to rebuild and to give the country back to its citizens. We are losing more of our soldiers than is comfortable (that "comfortable" figure by the way would be zero lives lost), but I do believe that they are doing good work there and I feel we need to support them whole-heartedly, no matter our beliefs, political or otherwise. We're there now due to decisions made by previous governments and the soldiers are doing good work and working hard and in dangerous conditions.

We still need to remember, and the poppy is still an apt symbol.

No matter whether you love or hate Don Cherry (if you're Canadian you probably know who he is and feel one way or the other), he is a great advocate for our soldiers. His tribute on Saturday's Coach's Corner had both the Boy and I sitting silent (me teary-eyed).

The video is about 5 and a half minutes long, but it is powerful. Watch it if you can't get to a Remembrance Day service today.

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