November 11, 2008

Two minutes of silence

At the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month, Canadians pause to mark two minutes of silence in remembrance of the sacrifices made by those who paid a terrible price to right horrible wrongs.


My Grandfather, Lt. Colonel James Alexander McPhee, was a pilot in the second world war, and he taught us this. What was done in the great wars was awful. Human life, lost or taken in any cause is always tragic and wrong, even when necessary. He was not proud of what he had done, nor did he want to be thanked, although he understood our nations gratitude for his willingness to do it. The regret that he felt that it had been necessary, and that he had done it was the genesis of our family's pacifism.

Were he alive today, he would have done as he did on all the Remembrance Days following the war. He would have stood in his uniform, the bravest, strongest and most beautiful man that I ever knew, poppy pinned to his chest, and he would have wept for the loss of his friends, the loss of those whom he fought, and the loss of a life where he didn't have to face it.

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.

If you didn't mark two minutes this morning. Please think about making some time. The motto for remembrance day in Canada is twofold. Lest we forget, and never again.

Posted by Stephanie at November 11, 2008 11:22 AM