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
Best wishes to all our Canadian sisters and brothers.
Thanks for this wonderful reminder. We should all take a moment today, and every day, to be grateful to those who did what we could not -- and we should also be willing to do what we can to ensure no one else needs to make such sacrifices.
Somehow, someway, let humanity find a path to peace.
We remember, here in England, all thoses who fought and died that we may have the luxury of living in peace, with rights and freedoms that are not granted to many in the world. What we owe to those that went before us can never be measured or repaid, only be taking into our hearts the lessons of the past can we hope to honour them. Dawn.
My father, my four uncles, my grandfathers on both sides, my husband, my father in law -- Veterans all. Some living, many gone but all remembered and prayed for on Veteran's Day in the United States. Canada's motto and name for the day are good ones. Thanks for marking the day and sharing your memories.
A beautiful post, with an important reminder to all of us. Thank you Stephanie.
Here in the US, it's our Veterans' Day. We celebrate and honor the sacrifices of our living veterans while also remembering the dead.
I like the two minutes of silence. We should have them more often. Silence allows introspection and every time the question becomes (for me): Could I have done what they did? I still don't know. So I give thanks that they did it for me.
We remember and honor all those who served, and are serving still (and although it is Veterans Day. I am including police and firemen, who routinely put themselves in harm's way in to serve).
I honor their willingness and bravery, to protect us and those abroad from those who would break peace and harm populations for personal gain, position, and or inter/national power. Until Never Again (strangely, the motto of the JDL) occurs, I thank all the powers that be, wherever one finds them, for their service.
A beautiful post, Stephanie. "In Flanders Field" made me cry again, as it always does. My deepest thanks to all veterans everywhere, and to those who didn't make it home.
Bless you and your wonderful grandfather.
At eleven o'clock this morning I was on the phone with the strongest, bravest, most beautiful man I have ever known: my husband, Dennis. He was calling me from Afghanistan where he is currently deployed as part of Task Force Phoenix VII. He would agree with your grandfather's assessment of wars and the men who fight them. I think most soldiers would.
Thanks for remembering the day and the men and women like your grandfather.
Both my grandfathers fought in WWII and this day was always an important one for our family. Thanks for your beautiful post.
My family is from Holland.. I am a first generation Canadian. I am very thankful for the sacrifices that were made to free my family and countrymen from occupation during the second world war.
Thanks for the beautiful tribute.
I'm a rabid hockey fan and an avid blog reader (hockey, knitting, and random), so I get a more extensive exposure to the Canadian ethos than many of my friends have. The single best part of that ethos, as I see it, is simply that you can divorce the thanks and remembrance from jigoistic saber-rattling (or, should I say, sabre-rattling?). The red poppies may be cheap and tacky looking (believe me, with the exception of cosmicpluto's knitted poppy, they are!), but they're ubiquitous, and they remind both the wearer and the viewer that one must remember. On this side of the border, there's no comparable symbol (except among hockey people!), and flag pins have been co-opted as representing a kind of "my country right or wrong (but oh, no, it's never wrong)" support for specific policies. We have a government that preaches support for troops, as long as they're in the service, but that doesn't find it necessary to honor their service once they come home. Ahhh...I'm off on a rant here, so I'll stop. In this, as in so many other things, Canada has it right.
Thank you, Stephanie, for marking the day so beautifully. This morning, I wrote a thank you letter to my friends Tina & Mike, who met and married while in the military in Germany. She wrote back and told me I'm the only person who thanks them both every year giving up their personal liberties for some time so I could enjoy mine. Sad, isn't it?
So, thank you to all veterans who read this blog. And if you are not a veteran, but have a family member or close friend -- well, you know what to do!
Thank you for this post, Stephanie.
As a Canadian, and as the daughter of parents who lived in Europe during the Second World War, I am grateful for veterans like your grandfather, and his comrades who fell.
It's so important that we remember all those who served -- in both World Wars, Korea, as peacekeepers throughout the world, and now in Afghanistan.
Lest We Forget.
Thanks for the reminder. I had just called my mother to wish her a happy Veteran's Day. Both my parents were World War Two vets -- it's how they met. My mother was in the Navy Waves and my dad was a Seabee, the construction battalion for the Navy. He was stationed in the South Pacific. He never talked about his experiences there. He came back damaged both physically and emotionally. (He lost a big chunk of his hearing, his lung collapsed, and he suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome.)
As you say, never again. I just wish the fellows in Washington would consider that.
I also am very thankful for the sacrifices of our military, yesterday and today. Those very brave men and women of our military forces deserve our respect and admiration.
What a touching post. We must remember the people who gave their lives and those who survived to keep us free. I carry my grandfather's dog tag from WWII on my keychain and visit his and my grandmother's graves at the Rock Island Arsenal whenever I get to the Midwest. My grandfather lived to age 79 and my brother received his flag when he was buried.
All hail to the veterans of current and past wars. May war never touch our children's children.
We have our Rememberance Day today as well here in Great Britain. I watched the special service at the Cenotaph in London on the BBC.
Since it's the 90th anniversary this year of the ending of WW1 they have been showing special programmes. The last three surviving British men who served in the First World War laid wreaths (with help from serving officers). It was so moving to watch.
Two of my Great uncles served together. One came back and the other didn't. The one who came back had a living death for over thirty years after the war. My grandad served and refused to speak about it because it was so terrible.
I posted this on Ravelry!
My son is finishing his training for the National Guard. He will be in Afghanistan in a year. His best friend is home for his 2 week leave from there right now. I made him cookies and a cup of coffee . He told me how nice it was to shower every day and eat home cooked HOT food. And how it is a real blessing to eat home made cookies. This is my son’s future and his friends reality. I bless all of us military families. We are the reason they survive the hells of war. We are what they cling to out there. I am so proud to be an Army Mom and I live in fear that one day the dress uniforms will come to my door!
God Bless our Soldiers! God Bless those who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice to preserve our freedoms and liberties.
Thank you, Stephanie. My father fought in WWII. He dies when I was only 8 and so I never got to talk to him about the war. This morning one part of my brain knew it was Veterans Day but the other part just wanted to put on clothes so I could get out of the house to work. Without thinking too much I grabbed a necklace I wear with a medallion my father brought back from Italy after the war. I don't know, it just feels extra 'right' to be wearing it today.
Thank you for this post this morning. I am glad to know that war ended up being the genesis for your family's pacifism.
All over the world, we must remember these men who did fight for peace. And we must work for peace, too.
We are thankful. I will take two minutes--today is Veteran's Day in America.
That was lovely, Steph-- Remembrance day it should be everywhere. I've been calling it 'Armistice Day', because it gives me hope, but maybe I should simply have hope that we truly remember what all those sacrifices are for.
We do that in Australia, too. Beautiful poem. Seems like all those men had an amazing sense of heroism that I wonder if we would find so readily today.
Beautiful. That's one of my favorite poems, and one of the first I remember trying to memorize. I came across it in the Anne of Green Gables book in which Walter goes off to WWI and dies. I think, as a child, reading that book taught me more about the reality of WWI than any history book.
Thank you for sharing the image of your grandfather in uniform every November 11, remembering.
Thank you for sharing your Grampy with us. I will think of him and his comrades souls today at the ceremony downtown.
What a beautiful poem, a beautiful post. If only, if only.....
A simple heartfelt thankyou to those who have served & those serving...
As said in a song "Some gave all & all gave some"
Thanks Stephanie, for sharing your thoughts.
I love that poem. Thank you for reminding us that honoring and supporting soldiers does not mean honoring and supporting war.
like jules, i am always touched by flanders field, even though as a canadian i know it by heart. i hope 2009 brings more peace to our world and less war.
It is now 12:27 pm, so I have missed the chance to mark the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. (Is the 11th minute going a little too extreme?)
But it is never too late to thank those who 'gave their todays for our tomorrows.'
Here in Washington, DC, I think today is marked with both happiness and dismay - Federal government employees are happy to have the day off, but dismayed to find that the banks and Post Offices are closed. (That's from what I've seen; I hope I'm wrong.)
As an American, I honor our veterans, and I thank the gods of battle and peace for our allies.
Wearing poppies too!
Love from Arlington, Virginia.
Thank you, Stephanie. The poem is beautiful. My husband is a Vietnam vet. He has 37 friends' names on the Wall, so he goes to visit them and honor their memory as often as he can, not just on Memorial Day. He always cries, as he should. We all should weep at the thought of all the lost lives -- and we all should honor every day, not just one day a year, all the brave men and women who have put themselves in harm's way so that we can live the life we do today.
We went to the ceremony in the next town, because they do a good job of showing the history of our flags, in addition to remembering part.
I was unhappy with the soldier who spoke, for reading a poem that claimed that all of our rights come from soldiers. I agree, as the poem says, that they do not come from politicians, or ministers, or other people. But they don't come from soldiers, either. Soldiers DEFEND or protect our innate rights. I believe that they come from nature, perhaps from God, but NOT FROM OTHER PEOPLE. Other people can try to take them away...but our rights are not the soldiers' to give.
Thanks for helping me remember why today is such a special day for my husband - a retired navy seal, spook and chief. I like the way you Canadians commemorate the holiday and although I missed it this year, I will remember in years to come!
I took our boys (ages 4.5 and 3) to the fire station today to deliver items for our (American) troops overseas.
We've been doing crafts and reading books about soldiers and learning about our veterans. This afternoon we're drawing 'thank you' cards to send to our local Veterans Hospital.
I am saddened that my boys did not know my grandfather. He was a member of the First Army, 99 Div., 324th Engineer Combat Bn., Tech Grade 4. He was taken POW by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, and spent 120 days at Stalag 13C Hammelburg Om Main Bavaria.
I am grateful for the sacrifice of all our veterans in service to our great countries.
"Lest we forget, never again."
I was raised with a similar sentiment. Our version was "Let us remember, and never forget." Never forget those who are/were enslaved, targeted, supressed, or killed. We were charged with remembering what happened and that if it happened once, it could happen again. It taught us to understand the price of our freedom and the burden of sustaining it.
Thank you to those who fought for us. Thank you to those who are doing so now Thank you to everyone who takes any action to encourage understanding and peace between individuals and groups.
Thanks for sharing this motto and reminding us to stop and think about the meaning of this day!
Whether Remembrance Day, Veterans Day or Armistace Day, I honor those who served.
Some remarkable poetry came out of that hellish time. I'm glad it's still around so that we can remember and learn.
If only remembrance was used in America for the same peaceful ends.
For years now, it has seemed that the cry of "Remember!" has been used to fuel more and greater war, rather than prevent it.
Oh, for the lives that have not only been lost through death, but through horrifying mental and physical injury.
Thank you for the quiet and beautiful post today, Stephanie.
Thank you for always putting things so well.
During the first World War, the United States Public Health Service waged a battle against the influenza pandemic and other trench diseases that decimated Allied troops on and off the battlefield. They're still working to protect the world from epidemic disease, even if they are a little known part of the US uniformed forces. I'm proud that my husband is serving with them today.
Beautifully written, thank you for saying it so well.
Thank you for posting your heartfelt thoughts. For generations, members of my family have put on a uniform and gone off to war. Viet Nam, Korea, WWII, WWI, and my grandfather went in during the Spanish American War. I've been married twice, both served in Southeast Asia. My son-in-law just came home from his second tour in Iraq. Not all come home.
I am respectful and grateful. I keep hoping for a day when wives and mothers won't be sending their loved ones off to fight.
And today, I also have reason to rejoice, because on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, some years ago, I received my first granddaughter.
As an American I live in a small town in a rural area in a very 'Southern' state where they still celebrate Confederate Memorial Day and on November 11th we celebrate the living and remember the dead with a small parage and a ceremony as do many towns large and small in the more rural areas. The retired veterans' group still sell the red Poppies as you exit stores.
My husband, now deceased, one son and one grandson are veterans. In our little town when a veteran dies a small flag is in his obit in the twice a week newspaper and the family is given a flag at his funeral.
Thank you for this.
You make me want to dig out my grandfather's diary, which he kept as a 25 year old medic in the trenches of France in WW1 (we have very long gaps between generations in my family). I'm sad to say that I've never read the diary, and I'd like to know what he had to say.
I also wish that we were more aware of our newest veterans' experiences, and also of the war that they are fighting. I am a very firm pacifist, but I also think it's shameful that it is so easy for us to forget that people are over there risking everything and are coming back scarred. I hope we can each reach out a veteran today and let them know that we care.
I always seem to gloss over this holiday, disdaining war as I do. Thank you for calling me up a bit short. You gave me a moment to remember my grandfather and his stories about WWII. His bravery and his torment were things that he shared with me from that difficult time.
If only we did not still require these sacrifices.....
My dad, born in 1923, was a pilot in the RCAF. He was an Norwegian/American who grew up in Fargo ND. We always felt proud of that Canadian connection. His wings look like your grandfather's. I always have them on the mantle for this day. I wish my country had the "never again" part of your country's creed. Kathleen, aunt of the Portland Nephew Nic who brought my copy of your book to be autographed at the Forestry Center, saw the chickies, and learned to knit...a scarf anyway!
Thanks, Stephanie. I think I surprised my dad today by recognizing his service in the military. He didn't serve in any formal conflict, but was in Korea as part of a peace keeping tour in the 60s, just before Vietnam. If he had been called to serve in combat, he would have. I'm very proud of my dad - and all of the veterans of this world.
Along with the three British surivivors, there is actually one lone American "doughboy" still alive (and another who made it to England but never to the Continent). We need to remember that in both World Wars, almost all of those who served were volunteers. Someone pointed out to me a verse from Isaiah that is the "volunteer's verse".
Isaiah 6:8 — Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
They went. They are still going for us. And we owe them honor.
None of my close family members fought, but I do go and stand at the cenotaph in remembrance every year. I always find it moving and humbling.
I went back and read your earlier post about your grandfather. What a brave and noble man. Your family and our country were lucky to have him.
When I was a little girl, many years ago, my mother's conversations were prefaced with either "before the war" and "after the war"..so much that we knew that "during the war" was something she didn't want to remember. My mother was born in 1937, so from the age of 5 until the age of 9 she lived through the invasion of Holland. My grandmother, my namesake, was the mother of 6 small children during that time.
Thanks to the Canadian soldiers I am here today. Remembrance day always leaves me an emotional wreck. I have met some vetrans that served in the Netherlands during that time and I make sure I see them sometime during November to thank them again. Most of the time we both end up in tears.
We take for granted too much in life. We need these moments to remind us that we are a privilaged country.
My father is a sub-vet from WWII, my husband a veteran of Vietnam. They both (thankfully both are still alive) like to point out that they have NEVER gotten veterans day off, but I digress. Your posting today brought tears to my eyes.
I went to Col. John McCrae public school in my formative years. We learned the poem before I could read; we sang it, wrote it, did collages about it and spent Remembrance Day at his birthplace. I still love it, and make my kids crazy by trying to teach it to them at every opportunity. Get them to remember when they're young and the next generation won't forget either.
Thanks for this, Stephanie. We always can use the reminder. I love that poem too. I don't think the kids learn it by heart in school anymore--too bad.
I get to thank a veteran every time I talk to my father-in-law. He served as an aircraft mechanic in North Africa with the RAF in the Second World War. I also have the privilege of thanking a veteran whenever I talk to my young friend Ben, who is a new Dad and is supposed to be re-deployed to Afghanistan in the not too distant future. I thank them both for standing up for me and for others who deserve the same freedoms that I enjoy every day. Bless you for getting the word out there, Stephanie. A 'thank you' means so much and it's the very least we can do for them, who gave so much to us.
Celebrating this day has always been important to me. My father served in WWII, my brother and husband in the Vietnam War.
And my baby girl was born on the 11th, as well.
May peace come to the world so that no longer do we need to mourn the recently dead.
In very london style we all remained silent while waiting for the underground. It was really moving and they rang a bell for the beginning and end.
Let us not forget the veterans still living who served -- both in peace time and war -- to preserve our liberties. Men like my husband who served silently in the submarine service of the US Navy, doing 8 knots to nowhere during the cold war -- always watchful, always waiting.
Amen. Well said. Your grandfather was a very handsome man.
Thank you, Stephanie, for this post. Having had several relatives who served in both World Wars, I have always felt the need to keep their sacrifice in mind. I cannot imagine what fortitude would be required to go to war knowing full well what you were walking into. It is almost 11:00 here, and I will be observing two minutes' silence, remembering all who have served in all wars and "conflicts", and sending what peace and love I can into the world.
Thanks for posting this, stephanie. I went to queen's park briefly and watched the snowbirds do the manoeuver where one plane flies off on its own in memorial. Really really good to pause like that.
I never really thought about it until I read Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut when I was 16 or so. The main character is confused because when he was in school, Armistice Day was sacred and they took a minute at 11:11 on the eleventh day of the eleventh month to silently honor the veterans and dead of the War to end all Wars, and now it's called "Veteran's Day" and everyone has a sale and no one thinks about what it means. We closed our store at 11, so I made a sign with the hours and wrote a note that said, "Hug a vet! Say the pledge at 11:11! Wish for peace at 11:11!" because, you see, at 11:11 every single day, my sister makes a wish and tells everyone within earshot to do the same.
Gratitude and remembrance for all who lost their lives in any war , absolutley , BUT as the poem says ""they ""have passed the torch to us to carry on and right the wrongs and atrosities WHATEVER it takes or "they shall not rest in peace. Thanks to all that continue to hold the torch high.
i always look forward to your remembrance day words. it inspires me to be more peaceful as a parent.
I remember memorizing the first two paragraphs of that poem when I was about 12 (almost 40 years ago) and I still remember them to this day, word for word. My brother Michael is a Vietnam Veteran and he has suffered, not from physician wounds, but from mental wounds. I wish all wars could end.
Thank you. The last sentence says it all.
Thanks for the reminder. I am reminded every day of those brave people by my father-in-law who now lies at almost 90 in the intensive care unit of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He graduated in the Class of 1942 from the United States Military Academy. That class lost many of its members including my father-in-law's roommate. My husband is named after that young man who died in Italy. My father-in-law retired as a Brigadier General thirty years later after serving in WWII and Viet Nam. He is now an old soldier who is fading away. I only hope that he will live long enough for my sons to visit him this weekend to say good-bye to a man who has deeply influenced them.
My husband and I who have both served in the United States Armed Forces are proud of his service and ours, but angered by the contempt our current president has had for the values for which we all fought and served. We are hopeful of change.
Thank you for the story and the reminder. We all need to take a few minutes to remember the sacrifice. Also: I was looking through patters and I found this! I think this could be the kind of Vest you knit! It's supposed to be short! Almost like a bra! This is Nashua Knits. email@example.com
Well and truly said. Requiscat in pace, to all who died and all who lived.
Last year, I was home in Canada on Remembrance Day. I put on the poppy that I still miss after almost 30 years living in the States. My daughter and I were in a TIm Horton's, having a late breakfast, when the clock hit 11. The cash registers stopped. Music poured through the store. Everyone rose and watched as the overhead monitors played a tribute to those who fought. The announcer recited "In Flander's Fields" as the crowd stood in silence.
And I cried.
Thank you. New Zealand is remembering today too. My father was in the Pacific war and my grandfather in France in the first world war.
My son - Navy
My father, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and two nephews - Army
My niece - Army National Guard
Together they have circled the world in service to their country. This is their day and the day for all those who served with them, but who never got the chance to come safely home to their families. God bless them all.
In Flanders Fields always brings a tear to my eye, as have many of the comments. We commemorate Remembrance Day here in Australia too, and I wore a poppy yesterday too. I think it's really important to carry on the tradition and make sure our children have an understanding of how much has been sacrificed so they may have the life that they do.
Every Remembrance Day, Steph.
I mark that silence for my grandfathers: Group Captain Robert Tremayne Davidson, who was an Ace and career RAF/RCAF officer; and Wing Commander Andrew Tilley, also a career RCAF officer. I mark it for my grandmother Joy, who drove an ambulance in London during the Blitz. I mark it for my other grandmother, Helen, a commanding officer with the RCAF during the war. I mark it for Canadian diplomat Glyn Barry and the 97 Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2002. I mark it for the RCMP officers who guarded my father in Haiti and like their fellow officers elsewhere would have laid down their lives for him.
And today I am very, very proud that I heard "For the Fallen" recited in English, French AND Ojibway.
My heart is full.
Thank you, Stephanie. My father was a career US Air Force pilot, serving in WWII and Viet Nam. Several friends and clasmates served in Viet Nam, including one lady who went directly from graduating nursing school at Duke to the Army to Viet Nam. And here we are yet again. It's so sad, but I fear that there will always be those who wish to harm/control others. There is another wonderful poem, written poet WWI by Billy Rose, 'The Unknown Soldier'. It's too long to write all of it here, but my favorite part is:
"I wonder if the kings, who planned it all
Are really satisfied?
They played their game of checkers
And eleven million died."
Too bad the leaders aren't the warriors!
To all who serve and face the unfaceable, I salute you, pray for you and give you my very deep thank you!
My great-uncle Peter lies in Wimereux cemetery, not far from the man who wrote the poem Flanders Fields. I never knew him, nor did my mother. All we know of him is the love and respect that my grandfather felt for his brother. To read that poem makes me cry and I feel the pain of loss that my grandparents felt.
You have his eyes.
My father served in the US Navy in the Pacific and was part of the occupying force in Japan. He was only 17. He spoken to me about it only once, and never the whole story. His best friend was a Marine in Guada Canal.
I remember their sacrifices, and the sacrifices of all others - I weep for their losses, so we could gain so much.
I was so touched by everyone's stories. Especially 'yarnpiggy'. Her gratitude brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you for such a potent reminder of what often is taken for granted, by myself as well as others
Thank you for a beautiful post, Stephanie. Veterans' Day, as we call it here in the USA, has come to be seen as just another opportunity for store sales. It's good to be reminded of how seriously it's taken in other countires.
Thank you, Stephanie. It is our Veteran's Day, too.
I very much like that poem. It is tucked into my mother's Girl Scout uniform from when she read it at a ceremony. I am vague on the details and should call her to get them straightened out. Today makes me pause to think of what so many have sacrificed to give me the world I live in today.
My father, his two brothers, my mother's three brothers all but one still living from WWII, Korea, Vietnam. Two who made the service their careers for over 20 years. A host of cousins as well. Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guards of various states. They protected us here and abroad.
Thank you for the reminder, my sweet souled Harlotta, for those who need to not forget. I am lucky...none of my family were killed or maimed in their tours though my father's oldest brother has never quite been the same of spirit (WWII). I have a husband who was blessedly not drafted (he missed Vietnam by a very small bit) and chose not to serve in that way. My son is too young to serve yet if he should choose to do so. I respect and honor so much those that answered their many countries calls. They are every mother's sons, and now daughters too.
I wish so much for a world where each generation does not have to measure itself by which war was theirs.
I was at a workshop in the British Library today and the whole place was in complete silence. Although it is a library it is one of the busiest (and best) buildings in London.
Lots of businesses around the UK did the same, solidarity with other nations around the world.
My thought was could we stretch 2 minutes to 2 days, 2weeks, 2years?
I am also a pacifist and I have to believe it is possible, and hopefully in my lifetime. As Ghandi said "be the change you want to see in the world", I live by those words as I think do you.
Thank you for sharing your grandfather's photo he sounds a very special man.
I was going to read all the comments, but I started tearing up after about fifteen of them. I remember my father who was a radio operator on a B-17, shot down over Belgium in WWII. He and his fellow crew members bailed out and survived, some in POW camps, some escaping to work with the Belgian underground, and my father in a German POW hospital. All survived except the captain of the crew and pilot of the plane -- he went down with the plane. You can't remember your own father without thinking of all those others who served, and currently serve, in the military as well. Let's all hope and pray for peace and a long life at home for all those now serving.
The vets in our small US town march to the center of town at 11:00 am on 11/11 to honor all those that fought for us. When ever I see the small group of men I get tears in my eyes. Yes my we never forget!
I always wondered why the poppies now I know!
We have many generations of military members on both my side and my husband's side of the family. In addition, I served 6 years and he is in his 26th year in the Air National Guard. Our reasons for serving over the years include the obvious drafts, a sense of patriotism and financial necessity. Over the years I've encountered more than a few people who assumed that because of our service that we all support every conflict and that we sought, and still seek, aggression... in essence that I hail from a long line of war-mongerers. Let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. Having family members who may be harmed is the best motivator for peace and resolution that I can think of. Hopefully my daughters will have the luxury of choice about whether or not to serve, and not be forced into it via a future draft or financial necessity. In the meantime, I will teach them to respect and honor those who serve in the military and to hope for peace.
Yes, I am here blowing my nose as well. I always remember my dad (WWII Vet --Aleutians and Phillipines) making sure he had a reason to be in the backyard by himself at 11 a.m. Our town's fire sirens used to be set off to help us remember to stop and remember. He would put his hand over his heart, face east, and cry (but we weren't supposed to notice).
The whole world should grab 2 needles and learn to knit--they'd be too busy and happy to kill.
My dad was a Navy Pilot during WWII and flew missions over the south Atlantic Ocean looking for German UBoats. He was 2nd generation German and had many cousins that still lived in Germany and were fighting for their own country. He was glad he never found a UBoat and so never faced the possibility of bombing one of his own cousins.
Thank you for this beautiful post.
It was Veteran's Day here in the US and I only hear one person even mention it. No poppies, no nothing. I've never been more disappointed.
Beautiful post Steph - lovely poem.
My great grandfather fought on the Western Front in The Great War, but, alas, I don't have very much information about him.
Here in Australia most of the country pauses at 11am for 2mins silence as well in memory of those fallen in war - particular in The Great War and WWII where many Aussies lost their lives.
In my office we were all encouraged to gather in the lunchroom to commemmorate the Armistice of 1918 together. It was really nice.
Remembrance Day and Anzac Day (25th April) are both very special days here.
Thank you for posting this. I'm in Paris right now, and was looking forward to going to the laying of the wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe, only to find out this morning that the French prez moved the ceremony this year out of Paris. And now I just learned that there was a ceremony at Notre Dame today that I would have attended, had I known. I've been in Paris or Belgium since the beginning of the month and haven't seen poppies for sale anywhere, which surprises me. I dunno....
Thank you for the quiet pause. Normally I would call the veterans in my family today, Veteran's Day in the US, to thank them for their service. They are no longer with us now, but I am thanking them still, and all the men and women who toil tirelessly to keep us all safe.
I live in Longview, WA (pop. about 50,000) There was a cool parade on Saturday and two of the high schools in the area held breakfasts for Veterans and then had them attend classes with the students and they spoke if they wanted to or answered questions. (The breakfasts were held on Monday since there is no school today.)
Personally I presented a program at the Historical Museum on "Knitting for the Cause" - my catch-all title for what knitters, stitchers, quilters, crocheters, etc have done for the aid and comfort of our troops and returning soldiers and their families from the American Civil War to the present conflicts.
The age of the audience was varied and several gave comments about what they had done in WWI or WWII. In my research I found very little about comfort things for our (US) troops in the Korean War and the VietNam War.
Although we haven't learned to "live without war" we have hopefully learned to honor the soldiers no matter what we think of the war.
I'm sorry that Kristina whose comment came in at 5:08 p.m. did not have anything available in which to participate.
I remembered my father this morning, though long dead (23 years now), he served in the US Army in Europe during WWII and NEVER talked about that part of his life. I am saddened that most Americans view this as just another day off. Sigh. My day was significantly brightened when after lunch I saw a 70-ish man in the grocery store in full dress uniform and I was able to say to him, "Happy Veterans Day sir, and thank you", and see the smile on his face as he responded "You are very welcome".
Thank you, Stephanie, for emphasizing how important it is to remember those who have served. The Great War (WWI) was the supposed to be "the war to end all wars." My children's great-grandfather served as a medic in WWI (it was the only way a conscientious objector could serve.) Today at 11AM we honored him and those thousands who died around him, and even under him during a shell blast. Let's never forget. Perhaps if all had such a view my children and their children will never have to be witness to such atrocities.
Thank you for such a moving post today. This time of year makes me very proud to be British because of the way that it is marked by everyone involved. My school holds a service every year to mark the Friday nearest to Remembrance Day to which they invite local veterans. It is the most important thing that we do, and each year, the respectful student reaction make me proud to work with teenagers.
I never realised that Canadians wear poppies too until I saw one of the pictures on yesterday's post.(Please excuse that embarrassing gap in my knowledge!) It's a simple gesture which should be adopted everywhere. (Are we listening, America?)
Thank you for focusing our minds on the sacrifices that some have made to defend others. We must never forget the cost of their courage.
Thank you for being our conscience and reminding me to stop and think. I find that there is music that always comes to mind - songwriters who can take me on their vision and say what is important. Here are two links to songs of Eric Bogle (an Australian singer/songwriter); someone who evokes the whole picture for me. Even if you choose not to watch the accompanying videos, it is food for thought.
(This video was clearly produced by a concerned Canadian)
Let us not forget, and work so it is never again.
Us ANZACs remembered our fallen young men yesterday too. Poppies and all. Here at our school we have a minutes silence and then a short speech. Yesterdays speaker was our Middle Years school captain, who recited a speech previously given by one of our former Prime Ministers, Paul Keating at our war memorial in Canberra. It was a moving tribute to our unknown soldier. Even when you have no or little family connection to war, you cannot help but be moved.
My uncle doesn't talk about WW II (he volunteered, was wounded & sent home, then was drafted back; he refused to be an officer the second time). My husband tried to serve in WWII, was sent home "unfit medically", which distressed him all his life; my father tried and never could enlist. But we wear poppies, and a cousin (another WW II vet) recited In Flanders Fields at my husband's burial. Thank you for reminding me.
This year I did not have a poppy (I usually do), but I would like to knit one. Or several, so I can spread them around next year. Is there a link to that pattern?
What a lovely tribute!
I live in a place that has two military bases, so the reminder of those who serve is constantly at the forefront.
Today I had the opportunity to visit the Moving Wall, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was quite touching to see the names of the 58,000+ Americans who died just in that war.
I think of those currently serving and pray for their safety, as well as for comfort and strength for those left behind.
Thanks Stephanie, that was a lovely tribute.
There was once a grave in Algeria, for my grandfather's brother. He died fighting in WWII, and after the war ended he and many of his fellow soldiers were brought home to lie closer to their families, but I still think about that grave in a cemetery that no longer exists.
Thank you for the virtual poppy, Steph. Dolce et decorum est, to remember for those who cannot.
Thank you Dear Harlot, for a wonderful post.
I honor all those who serve and have served. My baby brother who proudly serves in the USAF. My 2 cousins who have served in the USNavy and USArmy. My Grandfather who served in the USMarines and my late husband, who sacrificed his peace of heart and mind in the jungles of Viet Nam. I count him among the casualties of that war even though he died 25 years after returning home.
To all who serve and have served, to all who put themselves in harms way to keep our selfish butts safe, Thank you. You all rock!
This year a friend's dad passed away. This brave man was a veteran of both WWII and the Korean War. I wish I'd talked to him more about his experiences. I have his footlocker from the Korean War in my rec room. I keep wool in it. I think he'd like that.
heres a link to "A Pittance of Time" written by Canadian, Terry Kelly.
Grab a tissue ..it will certainly make you think and be grateful.
A Big Thanks & a God Bless to our allied troops world wide, no matter their flag!
Lest we forget.
Thank you Steohanie.
Both of my parent were WWII vets, Dad with the RCAF and Mom a nurse with the WAAF (Women's Auxillary Air Force). Dad passed away just over a year ago. He would have been 90 this month.
His funeral was attended by the handful of local WWII vets. At the end of the simple ceremony each of these elderly, frail men and women walked to the front, paused with head bowed, then unpinned a poppy from their chest and pinned it to the RCAF tartan on which the urn sat.
There are few now remaining of my parents generation who remember those times, both the horror and the acts of honour, selflessness and bravery.
Lest we forget.
My grandfather, Sam, was a tailgunner in WWII and like your grandfather knew that the tragedies were sometimes warranted, and yet believed they were still tragedies. Every life lost, every life he ended, stays with him to this day. It changed him and on a day like today I too cry for him.
My father was a ball-turret gunner in the US Army Air Corp in WWII. He did not come back, the only member of the crew of his plane that did not survive being shot down over Germany. About twelve years ago I got to visit his grave in the US Military cemetary near Liege, Belgium. I've never been so moved.
Thank you. And I thank him as well.
I think it was 4th grade when I learned "Flanders Field" by memory - as well as learning what it meant. Those were the days of Armistice Day, 11/11, not "Veterans' Day."
I believe it is only those who have experienced war in all its horrors who can lead us to peace through their own example. No one in my family ever served, but I have friends who served in Vietnam and they are uniformly against war.
Thank you for the reminder that this day is not to glorify war but to teach us to eliminate it, or at least, grieve that it happens. I think of my grandfather who was gassed in WWI and had to come to the US to find work in the wool trade. Such a shame it was not, in fact, the war to end all wars, as they hoped.
When I was a child, the town I lived in had some kind of whistle that blew every day at noon. On Armistice Day (before it became Veterans Day) the whistle blew at 11:11 am as well. And everything in town stopped, including traffic. Teachers and classrooms went silent. Two minutes later, the whistle blew again, and everything resumed. I found it very powerful, and decades later still do.
Today it was "oh, I didn't know if the library would be open today?" and I forgot to stop at 11:11. Thanks for reminding me.
Deborah at 5:48 - America is listening and we do know. In the states, the poppies are traditionally worn by the veterans themselves. Very small crepe paper poppies with pins attached.
I am an American of many generations down now, but most of my ancestors were from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England. I expect I have very distant cousins in Canada. I am always proud to have these two nations "connected" to my USA generally but in two specific events:
When the hostages were freed from Iran, one of the conditions of release is that we were not allowed to go get them ourselves. So our Canadian brothers went. As the hostages got off of the Canadian airplane our local (Washington DC) newcast played "Thank you for being a friend" How appropriate (and really not nearly enough of a thanks!)So since high school I've thought of Canada as our friends to the north.
When 9-11 happened, we all watched news for days on end here hoping there would be good news for some out of the midst of all of that horror. The news at some point started showing the massive outporing of support we had from other nations. The one that made me break down was when they played the Star Spangled Banner at the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Then I felt like a prodigal child who was still supported by mother country from so many generations back.
One world...what one does affects all. I think the Poppy pattern idea is fabulous. Someone e-mail me if we locate a good one. We could start knitting and crocheting right now and pass them out for next year. (A poppy made with Knitters Without Borders would rock but it's not all red)
And, again, my forty year old brain must correct myself. We do our poppies in the states for Memorial Day in May (which is the day we honor the fallen veterans...Veterans day 11/11 is for the living).
I can only beg lack of sleep and teenager in the hospital as pardon for my furry brain.
Best wishes to everyone in service, whether they be from Canada, the US, or elsewhere.
In other news, I saw Canadian Brass tonight because they came to my school to perform. The first thing I thought of was you, being Canadian and all.
growing up, we always had our school assembly to teach us to pay tribute to those who fought. and that is where my attention was always focused for a long time. then i started to think of the women and their contributions and the true greatest sacrifice; being that of mothers who sent their sons. my entire being aches with just the thought of waving your boy off to war... so now during my two minutes at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, i think not only of my grandfather, veteran of WWII, injured in France, but also of his mother, my great-grandmother who had the courage to see him go...
My grandfather fought in France in WWI. I think of him whenever I hear the song "Christmas in the Trenches", by John McCutcheon, about the unofficial WWI Christmas truce. It's too long to include all of it here, but it ends with:
"Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well,
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame,
And on each end of the rifle we're the same."
So here's to my great-uncle Ralph, a doughboy in WWI. To my uncles on my mom's side: Tony, John and Mario and my uncles on my dad's side: Tony and Ed. All served in WWII, and all returned home. To my own father, sent to Japan during the Korean war. To my cousin Bobby, wounded in Vietnam. To Bill, in Baghdad now. To my grandmothers, both of whom sent all their sons to war, and to my mother who never had to. May we continue to tell their stories, speak their names and keep them alive in our hearts. But most of all, may we find a way to resolve our conflicts peacefully and permanently.
Thanks. My daughter and I spent two hours today, beginning at the 11th hour, at our county's celebration of Veteran's Day. Next year, when she's in seventh grade, she'll be marching in the parade. My dad was a medic in World War II. This was the first Veteran's Day event that I have attended since he died two years ago, and I was much more teary-eyed than I had anticipated. But it was a good and necessary thing to do.
My mother grew up with Nov. 11th being marked in the US as Armistice Day, and never thought much of its morphing into "Veterans' Day." So I, too, was taught its original significance. In a way, the Great War was simply the first phase of a war that continued throughout the twentieth century, which only (perhaps) resolved with the fall of the Berlin Wall. So it is more than fitting to remember both the day's origin and the wider significance it has since acquired. I pray that the human race will someday understand that wars solve nothing.
*blush* I was riding my bike at 11am. *blush* I forgot all about it, though I was very aware of Remembrance Day. After all, my Pop was at Gallipoli and the Somme.
Lest we forget.
beautiful post. Thank you
My Dad served in WWII. The British Army has a lot to answer for as he was the worst driver I ever met, due, I'm sure, to learning how to drive a troop truck in the Sahara Desert where he couldn't hit anything. But really, he never spoke much about the war and it is only recently that Mum, who was a teenager living on a farm in Yorkshire, near a RCAF training facility, spoke much about the bombing that took place. She had told us about meeting young men from around the world who had come to learn to fly and about the prisoners of war who worked on the farm. Because of these experiences she learned, and passed on to us, that people the world over are pretty much the same and that wars are about the superficial stuff. Please, ye gods, let us all realise this sooner rather than later.
I've tried to write a comment a dozen times so far and I can't think of one worthy of the post itself. Stephanie, you are so much more than "just" a knitting writer. In a perfect world - this piece (along with "In Flanders Fields") would be required reading for young people who are still learning what the world is like.
Rewalsar, Himachal Pradesh
I thought it was wrong of me to think of pacifism when remembering our war dead, thank you for expressing so well you and your family's point of view.
I remember them because it's such a tragic waste of life and they should be remembered for their bravery and spirit. But we should also remember as a warning that we cannot, and should not, lay down the lives of young men and women because we think we can change the world with force rather than talk and understanding.
Thank you again for making me feel that I am not alone in my abhorrence of war and it's waste.
My husband's paternal grandfather fought at Vimy Ridge, and his great-grandfather (grandmother's father) fought and died at Vimy. There is great pride and gratitude for what they did.
My father's Polish village was invaded by the Russian army during WWII, and he spent 2 1/2 years in a Siberian concentration camp as a young child. He was the only one of his immediate family to make it out alive. Each year, Remembrance Day reminds me of the great gift of freedom in this country.
A wonderful post, Stephanie.
As a proud member of the Royal Canadian Legion (East Toronto, Branch 11), it was my priviledge to march towards East York Civic Centre for the Rememberance Day Service. It gladdened my heart to see the young cadets give assistance to those who needed it. The service was lovely despite the cold.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We shall remember them.
Lest we forget.
Gisela in Germany.
In 1987 I traveled to Europe and had the honor of staying in a very small town in Germany. The "wall" still existed, and I was dismayed to see the fence dividing East and West - with holes in it to allow the wild animals to cross over but not the people. The town had a huge pile of rubble, larger than a house, right in the middle of town. My hosts told me it was there as a constant reminder to everyone - never again. May we all live so that peace can thrive, with open minds, open hearts, willingness to serve each other in small ways, and the integrity to speak aloud our deepest desire for peace.
Thank you for the wonderful words.
Thank you for posting the poem. Made me cry. Written long ago by a Canadian, did you know...
I lost my father this year -- he, too was a veteran of WWII. One of those who never talked about what he did, or witnessed, except to say that it was a terrible thing, war - but it was something that had to be done. I, too, consider myself a pacifist -- that killing is not a solution. Not sure what I would have thought in the 1940s, tho.
Ever read Vera Brittan? Testament of Youth? I remember reading it in my college days, and the story of WWI is just as painful. The 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour began to commemorate the end of that war.
To a greater or lesser extent, I have been emersed in Armistice Day for the best part of a week. Being the 90th anniversary, the BBC have done their best to educate the British about the forgotten part of WW1 - how it ended. It's been fascinating and sad and terrible all at the same time. There was so much I didn't know - as an Australian, one tends to associate the Great War with Gallipoli and the Anzacs, not with what happened on the Western Front (although we were there, too).
- Pam (who observes Anzac Day as well, 13000 miles from home)
Just need to say that we commemorate the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month as that was the point at which the Armistice, bringing WW1 to an end, came into force in 1918 - so it was the end of the war or rather the end of the fighting as the effects of war continued long after.
"They gave their today for our tomorrow"
"We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved...."
And are still loved.
You Canandians really have it going! The two minutes of silence is a wonderful way to honor veterans. I wanted to tell you of a sighting yesterday . . . I was at the world famous San Diego Zoo and ran across three young Canadian men proudly wearing knitted red poppies pinned to their t-shirts as they enjoyed the Zoo, the lovely San Diego weather (75 degrees), and still managed to honor veterans both here an in Canada. It was heartwarming! Thanks for introducing me to two wonderful Canadian traditions!
Our soldier faded away this morning.
We got the word on the West Coast shortly before midnight so I prefer to think that he died on November 11th. We realized that he was born a little more than a month after the Armistace in 1918 to a father who was also a soldier. My husband comes from a long line of soldiers. I from a long line of Quakers in Philadelphia. We need both in this world.
Beatifully written Stephanie - my sentiments exactly.
My 13 year old daughter (through adoption almost 4 years ago) was reading your blog over my shoulder and asked if any of her "new" relatives had been in the war. I told her that her Grandad was a navigator in the RAF, and had to go on many missions over Germany. She said, "Is that why he was always so sad?" She only met him 3 short visits as we live in Canada. She also asked "Why are there wars - who makes them?". A difficult question to answer. We also had to explain how, as pacifists, we had to come to terms with our oldest son being a member of the Canadian Air Force (another navigator).
I remember as a child in England taking part in remembrance parades, and to mark the 11th hour, they used to turn on the air raid sirens - they fair put shivers up my spine. If you've never heard one, you never want to.
I wish we were all able to "give peace a chance"!
I can think of few things more beautiful than a brave man with a poppy pinned to his chest crying for his friends.
as a vet, as the daughter of veterans(yes! both parents are), and as the mother a serving sailor, I say: Thank You!
Even though I'm in Denver, I wear my poppy every year and explain to my American friends what it means. Many of my relatives, including my parents, were in the war and my grandfather died in a prisoner of war camp before I was born. It's a meaningful day for so many, and deserves to be honoured by all.
We observed the day, as happened largely by coincidence, by explaining WWII to our son. Including many things he had not yet learned about in school, some of which gives me a little pause, because it seems to me like 5th grade is late to have not talked about some of this stuff in school. Like the Holocaust. When does that normally come up in school, I wonder?
Anyway, we talked about the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month... which may not be typically discussed in the US, it turns out. Huh.
Stephanie thank you, Well said!
i won't, and i pray not.
I thought of the sad and beautiful Canadian monument at Vimy Ridge in France.. of ewes and lambs grazing among the grass-blanketed shell holes and hundreds of Canadian maples on a May morning (grazing sheep there is the only way to keep the grass cut - there are still hundreds of live rounds of ordinance buried up there.) I cry every time I remember this - the lambs in the fields where so many died.
As one Lt Colonel to another I honor your Grandfather. War is never nice. But it is however sometime a necessity. I went to Desert Storm in 1990. I left two children at home with their Dad. They were 7 and 15. I was a nurse in a MASH unit. I treated an Iraq EPW that was a year younger than the son I left at home. It's a diffucult job but we do it because we believe we can make the world a better place.
Thomas Paine once said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace".
If the job I do keeps my children from doing the same thing, it was well worth the sacrifice I made.
I hope we can all know peace soon!
LTC Foreman, Retired, ANC, USAR
Thank you Stephanie -I work at a large internationally known mobile phone co call centre in Scotland- we had our two minutes silence also- we asked customers if they wished to share in the silence or prefer to be put on hold while we respected the silence. It makes me so mad that the politicos seem to think if we are against the wars in the Far east and Afghanistan then we are disrespecting the Forces -more power to you! I agree withthe Post which suggested we should all be taught to knit-it would keep all those idle hands from doing the Devil's work.
Innes Scotland UK
Really nice tribute, Stephanie.
OH,i so agree...a large degree of respect is due to all of those that fought for our countries, that we may live this life..and much too little notice is paid to the real purpose of these holidays..they are much more than some sore of sale.
I couldn't get a poppy this year. When I told a friend, she said a vet selling them under the Bay was asked to leave the mall and go outside . . . Shameful! Absolutely shameful!
Hi Stephanie, what a lovely and thoughtful post - its good to honour not only those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but those who came back changed by the experience.
The Website Knitonthenet.com has a knitted poppy pattern, a donation is made via paypal/card etc. to the British Royal Legion, who look after former military personnel. I've got my knitted poppy now, but make sure I donate to this worthy cause.
We marked the two minutes here in the library - as we do every year, and it was strictly observed by all the customers too.
Just as a matter of interest, I thought you might like to see this http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/writing/kinmelPark.asp
Kinmel Park is on the outskirts of a village near here called Bodelwyddan, and in the churchyard there is a line of white marble gravestones each with the Canadian maple carved on it. A cover up of the real reason was attempted by the government at the time - but hey, this is Wales, it's a small village, and the gossip-mongers won't be silenced by a little thing like a government edict.............!!
That was the most beautiful statement I have come across in a long while. And, not just for the love you have for your grandfather, but for the lovely way you Canadians remember and honor your veterans. Don't forget, but never let it happen again. As an American, I would love to see that sentiment spread across our nation. Thanks for the wonderful reminder.
I was really moved by what Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, said when he visited Verdun on Armistice Day.
I have lived until my 42nd year in The Netherlands (born and bred)moved then to England to marry my American husband. I lived in The Netherlands, a short distance from the small village where my parents grew up. They always told me the story of the Canadian soldiers liberating their village in 1945 (together with English soldiers). Thank you brave Canadian men!!!! I did pause for two minutes on veterans day, and thought of all the men and boys and now women too, who have given their lives in war times.I am now sitting in Newark Airport, waiting for a plane to Albany, I'm teaching there, reading the Yarn Harlot blog (thank you) and know that when I arrive in Albany I am not far from knitting anymore! My yarn and needles are in the hold baggage, will knit tonight and tomorrow morning, bliss.
My father, Private Hanley Raphael Deir was also a WWII veteran and imparted in our family a great respect for those who bravely answered the call and fought overseas. I can still see him marching with his fellow veterans during the Remebrance ceremonies in our small town of Brockville, remembering the friends he lost so many years before. Veterans are a brotherhood that few people understand. After my father's death, many of his brothers in arms check in on my mom and make sure she is taken care of. At his funeral service, all the members of his Legion branch formed a procession at the end of the service and all marched to the front of the chapel, laying their poppies on the casket and saluting my father. Just thinking of it brings a tear to my eye. It is a small token, a pittance in time, to remember the veterans.
Well said. I was fortunate enough that very few of my relatives went to fight - they were miners or policemen before the war so were in Reserved Occupations. But the ones who did serve never talked about it, and I think it was only much later that they were able to grieve.
Thanks for your wonderful words. There is a breathtaking amount of nobility in people who are willing to give their lives to protect others. It breaks my heart that my government has taken such terrible advantage of that nobility by fighting a war over oil and personal vengeance.
I have a daughter and son-in-law in the Marine Corp so Veteran's Day has a real special meaning to me.
I really want peace so they don't have to go half way around the world a fight a war -now or any place/time in the future.
And I thank anyone who served in any of the wars and those who stayed behind to keep the world spinning.
Thanks, Stephanie, for this post. I live in Switzerland, where Remembrance Day is possibly only celebrated by expat Canadians. My grandfather suffered all his life from injuries sustained in WW1, and he was unable to share my life and my family's life because of it. Lest we forget, never again, In Flanders Fields..all are meaningful to me and I treasure and wear my poppies, and explain why, when people ask. Chris
From a knitter who grew up in Flanders Fields hearing about both World Wars regularly from family members who survived them, and who at the same time has family members in active service on your side of the Pond, your grandfather and all brave men and women like him have my salute.
Rest assured, the poppies, they still blow.
This was a beautiful post for Veterans Day. Sorry I didn't thank you sooner. I have seen a field of crosses in Northern France where Canadian soldiers are buried. Believe me, the pictures you see don't do justice to the immensity of it. On Veterans Day I also like to remember those who didn't give their lives, but gave their sanity. My dad served Stateside as a medical assistant during WWII, and for a while his job was to supervise the trains taking soldiers from the ships to the psychiatric units of Veterans' Hospitals. This was something he didn't talk about, anymore than combat veterans talk about what they have seen. Our family also had a friend who went straight from the Pacific to one of these psych units. Meeting him on a rare visit outside the walls and seeing the inner hell he couldn't escape formed the roots of my own pacifism. We should never take these sacrifices for granted.