Friday, November 10, 2006

Lest we forget

Remembrance Day is a big deal here in Canada, as it is in Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth, as Veterans Day is in the States.

An American friend of mine always gripes at me that we don't make much of a deal of our Thanksgiving, compared to how it is in the States. Well, we make up for it on Remembrance Day.

For me, it is one of the purest days of recognition, all about remembering and honouring those who serve in war and those who have died in that service, and we take it very seriously.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
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.
It is because of the above poem, written during the first World War, that we wear red poppies at this time of year. They are on lapels everywhere.
This year, both in Britain and in Canada, there has been a renewed interest in wearing a white poppy, instead of or in additon to the red one. From White Poppies for a Culture of Peace:
"The White Poppy symbolises the belief that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than killing strangers."
It's a movement that began in 1926 and though I hate it when sincere symbols are politicized and believe that's the reason the white poppy has been resurrected now in 2006, I think it's a symbol that makes sense for some. It's about saying "no more young men and women should be killed in the name of war".
The representatives of our armed forced and veterans do not like the white poppy, feeling it dishonours our soldiers. What do you think?
Whether wearing red or white or both, our soldiers are remembered.
To all the Canadians and others in Afghanistan, to all the Americans in Iraq..... may you come home soon and may peace be more than a pipe dream for all the people in the world.
P.S. I remember you, Michael. And I suspect you'd be wearing the white poppy this year.
P.P.S. Happy Birthday, C!


Blogger Jeanette said...

Nice blog, and great dad and grandfather are vets so I appreciate it.

10:43 AM  
Blogger sassymonkey said...

I'm torn on the white poppies...I'll write about that some day.

Thanks for your comments on my post. I really believe that it's important to acknowledge the day.

6:12 PM  
Blogger SwampHag said...

Thank you, Jeanette. :-)

Hi Sassymonkey,

I'm torn on the white poppies too. I look forward to reading your thoughts on it when you've had a chance to mull it over.

6:57 PM  

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