Sunday, 11 November 2007

Armistice Day

Armistice Day marks the end of the First World War: on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918; the guns fell silent over Europe. The first Remembrance Day was held throughout Britain and the Commonwealth in 1919 and it was an opportunity to commemorate the end of the war and to remember those who had died.

After the Second World War, the name was changed to Remembrance Day to include those who had died in both World Wars. Today, we remember those who have been killed in more recent conflicts too.

Towns and cities throughout Canada, Britain and Europe have war memorials to commemorate those who have been killed in battle. The red poppy has come to symbolize our act of remembrance: poppies bloomed on the battlefields of Flanders, Belgium, in bomb craters and on the graves of those who were killed in action: today, poppies are sold by the Canadian and Royal British Legions to raise funds for veterans and their families and we wear our poppies in support of them.

This morning, Paul and I attended a Remembrance Day Parade to honour those who gave their lives that we might be free. I have been attending such parades for many years and feel that I have a duty to remember those killed in the service of our country.

It seems to me that the numbers of those attending such parades are increasing. Perhaps as a result of the continuing casualties of war in current conflicts: Canadian soldiers are currently deployed in Afghanistan.

When I stand in front of a war memorial, especially when I am close enough to read the names inscribed upon it; I think about those who died. It is impossible to imagine how anyone survived the horror of the First World War and life in the trenches. Those who died were often little more than teenagers and yet they were expected to go over the top and face the hell that was no-man's land and worse still, the fear of being gassed. I say a silent prayer for them and hope that they are in a better place.

"They shall grow not 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".

An excerpt from a poem called 'The Fallen' by Laurence Binvon, first published in The Times of London newspaper on 21st September 1914.


Tracy said...

Lovely post, Marie! Remembrance day is important. So many young people hardly know about the day or why it seems...

Anonymous said...

Those lines from the poem are so beautiful, Marie! Like you, I can't imagine the suffering those young men went through ~ it just tears my heart to think of it. ~ hugs, Lynda xoxo