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
11 November 2008 is the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we remember them.
Here is how Canada marks the day: Day of Remembrance.
The company I work for started a "Company Name Here" Remembrance site which any employee can contribute to by way of stories of military service. This year I submitted a piece about my father-in-law.
I am astounded by the dedication and service of so many of my work colleagues and their families. Some of their stories are literally mind boggling; like the 23 year old Major who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (the highest military honour in Britain) and the Military Cross. He died at age 23 during WW1.
Both Matt and I felt something in our eyes after reading the story of this young man:
"In July 2006, my daughter Martina was engaged to be married to Justin Patton, an American. The attached photo is of my daughter and Justin at the time of their engagement. At the time, he was a Private First Class in the US Army's 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood Texas. In October 2006 Justin was posted to Taji, Iraq, just to the northwest of Baghdad. During the next few months, the seriousness of the situation became clear as the battle reports would sometimes arrive in our home in the middle of the night on my daughter's cell phone. This also brought increasing concern as the fighting seemed to be intensifying with the US troop surge in Baghdad.
On February 17, 2007 our worst fears became a horrible reality. Justin was killed in action in a suburb of Baghdad by a sniper. He was not my son, but still I have no words to describe his loss or the pain my daughter feels. My heart still aches for my Daughter, and for Justin's family in Michigan. Justin was 24 years old. We will never forget."
Another one of my colleagues served in Rwanda:
I had served on 2 peacekeeping missions. In 1993 I served in Cambodia for 7 months where I was involved with organizing and executing free elections for Cambodians as well as assisting in the removal of land mines left by decades of war.
I also served in Rwanda in 1994 during the genocide. During my six months in Rwanda I took part in providing humanitarian relief for hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced from Rwanda and surrounding countries. I also took part in the gathering and transporting of war criminals for the local authorities as well as providing security within Rwanda for those who needed it.
In 1998, I took part in the Swiss Air Recovery in Peggy's Cove, NS.
These are some of the many stories of service and sacrifice. I thank them all.They Shall not grow 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.