Sunday, November 11, 2012

This is something I originally wrote in 2006, but I like to repost it on Remembrance Day
On the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour, take a moment, just one moment out of your day, and remember the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and democracy during the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Afghanistan conflict and during peacekeeping missions. Think of those who have come before us and those right this minute, who are sacrificing more than anyone should ever ask. Think of their family, think of the lives that were lost, the time that was lost. Think of the lives that were saved, and of the people that are here because of those men and women.

I choose to remember all this, and I choose to remember my Uncle Lou. He's my dad's uncle, and he was a member of the Canadian Artillery in World War 2. He was from Canada, and he met my dad's Aunt Liz while he was stationed overseas. I think he was on leave in Scotland. Liz and Lou married and Liz came to Canada as a war bride. One summer my grandmother (Liz's sister), and my father came to visit from Scotland. And my dad came to like Canada, and thought this would be a good place for a young man looking for a future. And that's how my dad, and my family, came to Canada, and it's why I was born a Canadian.

Uncle Lou passed away in 2005, and I always remember that, because of him, I was given the honour and privilege of being Canadian, and in the grand scheme of things just being here.

It's not a war story, but a life story. A young man joins the army to fight in the Second World War; a young man visits Canada and thinks it would be a good place make a life; and a young man looks at the poppy on his lapel and thinks how lucky he is to be here.

In Flanders Fields 
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.

- John McCrae, 1915