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.
— Lt.-Col. John McCrae
Today, in Canada, is Remembrance Day. It is a day when we remember all those who sacrificed their lives in times of war so that we may continue to be free. It is on this day, November 11th at 11:00am, that Canadians participate in two minutes of silence to honour all those fallen heroes. For, on November 11, 1918, the Armistice was signed and the fighting stopped marking the end of World War I. Unfortunately, war is still very much present in our lives and we continue to lose many great men, women and children because of it.
In Canada, it is tradition to wear a poppy as a symbol of remembrance. Why do we wear a poppy? Well, the blood-red flower bloomed across some of the battlefields of France and Belgium leading Canadian Military Physician, Lt Col John McCrae, to write the famous war memorial poem entitled “In Flanders Fields” which is recited every year during Remembrance Day ceremonies around the world.
My grandfather, on my mother’s side, was a paratrooper for the British Army during World War II. At only 17 years of age my grandfather tempted fate as he jumped out of planes into the battlefields, with only the wind and a prayer to guide him. Many of his friends died, easy targets as they parachuted down into the crossfire. I am one of the fortunate ones who can sit with her grandfather today and listen to him tell his wartime stories. Not everyone was that lucky.
So today I would like to pay special homage to those that died in service for their countries. May you never be forgotten!