Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day - 11/11

Today at 11 am, we will be celebrating the 91st anniversary of the end of one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, the deadliest in Canadian history - the First World War. It's Remembrance Day here in Canada, the day we wear poppies, take a moment of silence and lay wreaths at cenotaphs all over the country in honour of those we've lost in conflicts.

This summer, I wrote about why the First World War affects me so much. The post, cataloging the heartbreak I felt at reading LM Montgomery's Rilla of Ingleside can be found here.

I am finding it difficult to write about this today; I'm missing my Nonno and my Grandpa, both of whom fought in WWII though for opposite sides. Instead, I am going to post some quotes.

In Flanders Fields - by John McRae (of Guelph, ON)

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.

"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."
Laurence Binyon, The Fallen

Finally, I'm going to quote my entry (warning - SPOILER for RoI if you haven't read it):

"... Maud’s intention – to make the horrors and loss of war real to readers – sure resonated with me. The death of fictional Walter represented the all too real loss of tens of thousands of other young Canadians, full of potential and greatly loved. What a cruel, vicious waste. Reading about WWI is still terribly painful for me, but I feel compelled to do so in order to pay tribute to these kids. And kids they were – when I visited Ypres at the age of 24, NOT ONE person in the Ramparts cemetery was older than me when they died.

Other books have affected me, have made me sob (HPatDH, I’m looking at you for a recent example) but every time one does I think back to Rilla. And say a little prayer for all the Walters lost on both sides of conflicts."

Lest we forget.

1 comment:

  1. I think you will love my friend Kate's response poem. (She's Canadian too, now transplanted to Louisiana.)