Ypres, Somme, Vimy, Passchendaele, Sicily, Korea, Afghanistan and a hundred other battlefields where Canadians served, fought and died. Remembrance Day comes again with our Armed Forces still in harm’s way.
The old warriors are fewer every year. They polish their medals, brave the cold of November and march once again. They tell their stories and share their memories of the times that forged Canada’s identity in a crucible of fire and destruction.
They fought, and still fight, on the air and sea and in the air. They brought and still bring pride and pain to their families, communities and country. They lost and still lose their youth and innocence on battlefields thousands of miles from their homes and many, far too many, lost and continue to lose their lives.
So November 11th comes once again. The ceremonies are repeated and a single trumpet will sing its sad song. The old and young will mingle once more as the wreathes are laid in solemn tribute. The entire country will pause for a minute or two in silent contemplation of those we have lost.
We owe our soldiers more than we can ever pay. They are the instruments of our national will and conscience. We send them to fight far, far away so we don’t have to fight at home. The very least we can do is remember them and their sacrifice.
“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.”