Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, we pause to remember!

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

Canada will pause to remember it's history today, taking time to think of those that have sacrificed for their nation over the many decades of this nation's history and those that have fallen in recent times.

Those thoughts of place names such as Vimy, Dunkirk, Passchendaele, Dieppe, Hong Kong, Juno Beach and Inchon to name a few, are now forever mixed in with dusty patches of dirt, the mud huts of towns and villages scattered through Afghanistan, the urban sprawl of Kandahar with all of its dangers, now no doubt destined to be forever part of the Canadian lexicon in the future.

For years Canadians kind of took Remembrance Day for granted, a symbol of a past that was best found in a text book or historical novel, these days it's the symbol of respect for those that fought those ancient battles and for those that still don a uniform with a Canada patch on the sleeve and put life at risk at our behest.

As our current military deployment continues, those Remembrance Day ceremonies at towns and cities across the land take on a new meaning, as each year more and more Canadians attend those observations, aware of the dangers we send our forces into, hopeful of a safe return home.

While there can be debate on the merits of a foreign engagement that seems at times futile and never ending, there can be no debate on the respect, nor concern for those that have been sent to a far off land at our request.

Like those that have travelled those roads before them, they will always be honoured for their service, remembered for their dedication, with but a single wish of that safe return to their families and friends and to the land they defend.

We remember them all today, the past and the present, the mourned and the celebrated.

Lest we forget!

At the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, we will remember!

The Books of Remembrance

Fallen Canadians in Afghanistan

Veteran's Affairs Canada Remembers page

Canada Remembers: You Tube video page

The past week has provided a number of remembrances and thought provoking pieces on our past and present engagements, they make for an interesting review of what this day is all about.

Globe and Mail

His work begins when a Canadian soldier's life ends in Afghanistan
Why is Nov. 11th blooming?
General's worst day
What we're remembering
At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, we will stand up and be silent

National Post

Who fights and dies for Canada?
One question: What have you ever done for your country?
Excerpts from a POW's diary: 'Time hangs very heavy on my hands'
Excerpts from a POW's diary: 'I am so full of horror and terrible sights'
Excerpts from a POW's diary: 'I'm a very lucky young man to be alive'
Poppies trump potash in new citizens' guide
Toronto Star

Nation defined by sacrifice
Afghanistan lends new focus to rituals
Remembrance Vigil launched with emotion
The forgotten battle of Passchendaele
Loved son a family's loss, a nation's hero
Younger war vets step up for Nov. 11

Vancouver Province

Secret D-Day documents discovered
History mystery solved for Battle of Britain veteran
Poppy sales slump as veteran numbers fade

Remember to take two minutes on November 11
Young Langley artists take soldiers to heart
Fallen Canadians

Vancouver Sun

Portrait project forever links Langley students to fallen Canadian soldiers' kin
Let's make a true commitment to life
A generation of Canadians not knowing war confronts grief
As you mourn, spare a thought for those who survived
A Canadian story of self-sacrifice
Historians work to safeguard war memories as generation of veterans fades away

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