Remembrance Day, 11 November 2020

The Cenotaph in Ladysmith, B.C.
The Cenotaph in Ladysmith, B.C.

Today is Remembrance Day. It is fitting we take a moment to remember those caught up in and killed in all wars, and think about the shattered lives and dreams of ordinary people just like ourselves.

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 will remember them.

This is the 4th stanza of the poem “For the Fallen” composed by Laurence Binyon which was first printed in the September 21st 1914 edition of the Times newspaper in remembrance of casualties from the Battle of Mons early in Word War 1.

The tradition of wearing poppies stems from a poem written in 1915 by a Canadian doctor and soldier in WW1 – John McCrea – after the death of a close friend on the battlefields of Flanders. McCrea himself passed away from pneumonia and meningitis in January 1918.

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.