Friday, 11 November 2011

Remembrance Day: A Day of Silence

Today I will not rant about anything, except to point out that it is sad how so many people do not know what the purpose of Remembrance Day is or the significance of the poppy.

Remembrance Day (or Veteran's Day) is a memorial day set aside by Commonwealth countries to commemorate the German armistice signed at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. This effectively drew an end to World War I.

The day was specifically dedicated by King George V on 7 November 1919 as a day of remembrance of members of the armed forces who were killed during World War I. 

The red poppy has become significant in large part because of the poem written by Canadian John McCrae entitled "In Flanders Fields". The poppies grew heavily in the earth of the battlefields and cemeteries where war casualties were buried in Flanders--and thus have become representative of the war.

Take a minute to reflect on the day and the purpose for which it is commemorated. I encourage you to read the poem below as it reminds us of why we wear a poppy.

Why Wear A Poppy- by Don Crawford

"Please wear a poppy", the lady said,
And held one forth, but I shook my head
Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,
And her face was old and lined with care;

"But beneath the scars the years had made
There remained a smile that refused to fade.
A boy came whistling down the street,
Bouncing along on carefree feet.

"His smile was full of joy and fun,
"Lady" said he "may I have one?"
When she pinned it on, he turned to say:
"Why do we wear a poppy to-day?"

"The lady smiled in her wistful way
And answered: "This is Remembrance Day,
"And the poppy there is a symbol for
The gallant men who died in the war. "

"And because they did, you and I are free
That's why we wear a poppy you see.
I had a boy about your size,
With golden hair and big blue eyes.

"He loved to play and jump and shout
Free as a bird, he would race about.
As the years went by, he learned and grew
And became a man - as you will too. "

"He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile,
But he'd seemed with us such a little while When war broke out and he went away.
I still remember his face that day.

"When he smiled at me and said good-bye.
'I'll be back soon, Mum, so please don't cry.'
But the war went on and he had to stay
And all l could do was wait and pray.

"His letters told us of the awful fight
(I can see at in my dreams at night),
With the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire,
And the mines and the bullets, the bombs and the fire."

"That sure did sound like an awful fight,
But your son - did he come back alright?"
A tear rolled down each faded cheek;
She shook her head but didn't speak.

"I slunk away in a sort of shame,
And if you were with me, you'd have done the same;
For our thanks, in giving is aft delayed,
Though our freedom was bought - and thousands paid!

"And so, when we see a poppy worn,
Let us reflect on the burden borne
By those who gave very all
When asked to answer their country's call
That we at home in peace might live.
Then wear a poppy! - and give!


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