The poem In Flanders Fields brought the poppy into the forefront of Remembrance Day. The poem by John McCrae is widely associated with services across Canada, to remember those who gave their lives and served in the Canadian armed services.
I think the second verse of the famous poem says it all for me.
“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.”
There are so many Canadians lying in Flanders fields and in graveyards around the world, because they wanted our country to be free, so we didn’t have to experience the devastation that war inflicts in our land.
Fortunately many more of these brave men and women returned from these horrible conflicts, like my grandfather, my dad and uncles who fought in Germany, Holland and Italy.
That made a huge impression on my life, to hear those stories first hand, from those who had been on the front lines. Wayne Reeves was sharing stories about his father, Thomas Reeves who was awarded one the highest honours bestowed on members of the Second World War Air Force. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross when he was flying Lancaster bombers out of England. What an honour, although I suspect all those who served were very special and although we can’t give them all medals and crosses, we can give them our thanks for being so brave.
Sadly, today, we do not have the opportunity to talk to many of those veterans, to say thanks, because most have passed on to brighter poppy fields.
Thankfully through organizations like the Royal Canadian Legion and veterans groups around the world where Remembrance Day is observed, the tradition of saluting all of those who have passed on and who served us so faithfully continues.
Throughout our history Canada has always been a defender of our founding values — freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of the law. Our brave men and women of the Canadian forces continue to serve our country on peacekeeping missions in places like Afghanistan and the Poppy Campaign helps those veterans.
On the 11th hour of the 11th month, on the 11th day we will remember them.
Take some time on Monday to attend the Royal Canadian Legion Services at 10 a.m. in the Gibraltar Room, then to the Cenotaph for laying of the wreathes and the Legion will hold fellowship at Branch 139 following the service at City Hall.
Sent to me by a friend …
It’s the soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us the Freedom of the Press
It’s the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us the Freedom of Speech
It is the soldier, not the politicians
That ensures our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
It’s the soldier who salutes the flag
Who serves beneath the flag
And whose coffin is draped by the flag.
We Will Remember Them!
Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.