Friday, November 11, 2011

In Flanders Fields

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada (as well as in many other Commonwealth countries). The 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour World War I ended.  It was meant to be the "War to end all wars". Human beings have very short memories it seems.

At 11am across Canada people will pause for a moment of silence.  Ever stand still in silence for a whole minute? Really really awkward. You get a sudden desire to sneeze. Seriously, how bizarre is it that standing still and remembering for a whole minute is so tough? How sad is that?

In New Brunswick November 11th is a statutory holiday (though not across all of Canada).  That means Husband and I will observe our moment of silence in the big hockey arena in town. I'm going to try to be grown up and respectful enough this year to actually remember rather than keeping an eye out for cadets who are about to faint (there are usually a couple every year).

When I was in school one class was always chosen to memorize and recite "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae for the school assembly. It's one of those things that stayed in my brain, even though sometimes I forget my own cell phone number. I guess it's rather more memorable.

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.

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