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We Will Remember Them

We Will Remember Them

I have a lump in my throat as I write this post. November 11 is Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth, and Veterans Day in the United States. A day when we take time to reflect on the cost of our freedoms. I wrote a blog post two years ago that summarizes my feelings.

Rather than repeating these words, you may read it here if you would like: Emotional

I recently learned of a campaign called No Stone Left Alone. Canadian school children were encouraged, through this initiative, to visit cemeteries and pay respect to our fallen soldiers.

Almost 8,000 students in Canada visited 100 cemeteries this year, honouring more than 51,000Canadian Armed Forces members. Our shop is closed on November 11th, out of respect for those who have died in military service, and for those who continue to put their lives at risk to serve our great country.

We will remember.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae
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.
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Lindsay Martin - November 15, 2017

It’s funny. I left the island when I was 17 and have lived in Toronto (or thereabouts) for 21. Torontonians/Ontarians generally do not get as emotional about Remembrance Day the way we do. I think it’s testament to how much value the island community places on respecting those who served, and, as mentioned in your post two years ago, the respect shown to those who’ve passed on by pulling to the side of the road.
Remembrance Day used to be a holiday here but at some point (before my arrival) it was changed. I’d like to think that if it was still an observed holiday that the community as a whole would have as much respect as our little island does, but I don’t think so. I think our island is so unique in that sense. We (ok, YOU, since I haven’t lived there in two decades) are so small that even if you’re from the other end of the island, there’s this island wide belief in honouring, respecting, thanking those who’ve gone before us.

I was taught, too, to never walk on the graves of those who’ve passed, but to walk in between. I wonder if that’s also an island thing?

MM - November 12, 2017

Excellent blog, in Holland Dutch children take care of Canadian Soldiers graves, this has been happening for many years, maybe you have a cup with a poppy on it as well as the saying Lest We Forget. Thanks again

Betty - November 12, 2017

Thanks Bruce. I remember them too. My Dad came home from five years in France (WW1) with shrapnel wounds and shell shock. My brother from a machine gun bullet in the chest. He was with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, and my husband who was on the Kenora that swept the mines from Omaha Beach where the big shells going both ways deafened him permanently.
So I remember them all and often wonder where they are! All dead, but to me. Poppies in their photographs, that’s all.

My kids are all in their sixties and seventies (only one 59) I wish you a good day full of good memories and maybe even some tears. The older we get, the more our eyes leak.

Darlene Esola - November 12, 2017

Hi, Bruce. We so loved meeting you in June when our wonderful guide Duncan brought us to your beautiful place of business. We are still enjoying all the wonderful jars of preserves that we had sent home to California. The cranberry relish is waiting for us to open it next week at Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for your beautiful writing on our Veterans’ Day/your Remembrance Day. Your posting of “In Flanders Fields” was especially touching as we visited there two years ago and saw where Dr. John McCrae wrote that heartfelt poem. Thank you for never forgetting the veterans who have gone before us (my own dad included) and for remembering those who have served (my own husband) and those who still so proudly serve both our countries. They truly deserve our utmost respect, all our prayers of thanks, and our heartfelt gratitude that they allow us to enjoy the freedoms that we often take for granted in our busy world. All the best to you on beautiful Prince Edward Island from us in California. Wishing you a blessed Christmas season.

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