Remembrance Day 2009

general

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(image from Vintage Wings Canada)

Today we reflect in silence the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in service to our country.  We may attend a formal gathering or we may just stand or sit in private, quiet contemplation when the clock strikes 11.  How we observe the event is not important, the fact that we do is.

I came across this image on the Vintage Wings of Canada website along with this poem by Andy Michaelson

Dieppe
He is a pile of clean clothes untouched by an iron
talking to himself,
wrinkled face, white hair,
tucked into a corner of the bar

He never stays past three in the afternoon
sips a single beer
takes no space at all
waits to join the rest
knows there were five
knows he is the last

Each August 19th
he arrives in a shiny blue blazer
a white shirt, starched
a tie with regimental markings
sits straight, front and centre
at a table with four empty chairs
he lays out the memories
snaps an order for five beer

He drinks each, by name
one by one
chases away any intruder
with a hard command

Remembering the run up to the beach
hearing the Sergeant
over landing craft engines
over shell fire
“Don’t be afraid, boys
sing something to chase the fear”
remembering five voices,
“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you”
seeing the ramp drop,
knowing instantly they were four,
tasting bitter surrender
marching, 300 kilometers,
surviving three years in the camp,
being freed as three,
in time just two,
now him alone
singing

Remember the faces of those brave young men but also remember and honour the veterans who are still with us today.  Thank them for their service.