Remembrance Day

This simple poppy is a memory from my childhood. Dad would bring one home to each of us on the evening of November 10th. The next morning, with pride, we’d pin them onto our school uniform sweaters. They were red too, but not poppy red.

Our father spoke very little about the World War II, but our Uncle Doug was a font of knowledge. Until the day he died, last April, at 99 years of age, he’d often say, “Let me tell you a little story about the war.”  He was a boy living in England during the first and served as a sergeant in the Seaforth Highlanders’ Sicily campaign during the second.

On the morning of November 11th, a special Mass would always be held and we children would sit very quietly, our eyes glued on “the vets” sitting in the front pews. These masses were among the few times in my childhood that I ever saw a tear run down the cheek of a grown man.

One year I was selected to read “the poem.” I was very frightened that I’d flub the lines on this important, solemn occasion. But I didn’t. To this day I remember it intact:

In Flanders Fields                                                                                                                                                                                            

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

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.

* Photos: a poppy pin , Uncle Doug wearing his Seaforth Highlanders uniform and the decorations he was awarded by the Canadian army

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Family and Friends

4 responses to “Remembrance Day

  1. Deanna Lagroix

    Today, I went with my daughter and wee two year- old grandson, Evan, to the Royal Winter Fair,here in Toronto. I wondered how I could stop at eleven to say a prayer and remember to thank our Veterans and those who didn’t return. I needn’t have worried. At five minutes before eleven, the pipes started playing over the sound system followed by, as you said, “the poem” and then everyone in that large hall stopped for the two minutes of silence and the anthem, “they shall not grow old as we who are left grow old…..age shall not weary them…..” It was so touching and so fitting in that Agricultural setting. I thought of all the young farm boys (among others) who answered the call for our blessed country, Canada.
    Thanks, Joanna.

  2. I have always loved this poem. I remember reciting it in about the fourth grade. What a beautiful post for Veterans day. Thank you for sharing.I am thinking of my dad now…

    • I am glad you like the poem. I think it was 5th grade that I recited… I too am reminded so much of my dad and uncles today… strong, good men who set a wonderful example for me to follow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s