Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Close to the Heart

Canadian FlagFrom the last Friday in October, through to Remembrance Day on November 11, Canadians (among those from other Commonwealth countries) traditionally wear red poppies on our left lapel, pinned as close to the heart as possible. We wear them to remember those who gave their lives in past and present conflicts.

This practice was inspired by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae's poem In Flanders Field. The poppies, which are offered by the Royal Canadian Legion each year, are available on street corners, in storefronts and at federal buildings such as banks and post offices for a voluntary donation. The funds earned provide assistance to past servicemen and women in financial distress, and for medical-related services.

Another touching, fairly new (since 2000) tradition takes place in Ottawa after the ceremonies and wreath-laying has occurred. Veterans and civilians alike remove their poppies after the service, and lay them on top of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It's a very moving gesture and sight. It was at this National War Memorial where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was gunned down while standing guard less than three weeks ago. He and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, murdered two days earlier in Quebec will be among those we will remember with heavy hearts.

Today, at the eleventh hour, with red poppies pinned close to our hearts, Canadians across our nation will share two minutes of silent reflection and respect to remember those who served our country.

remembrance-day

Two minutes for those whose hearts ceased beating far too soon.

Two minutes for countless, selfless acts of courage given in exchange for our freedom.

Two minutes for indescribable sacrifice.

It's an honour and a privilege for Canadians to pause to remember and respect those who serve.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, please pause to honour those who have given their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom we assume as our right.

May we never forget.


poppy pins


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.

30 comments:

Cloudia said...

God Bless Nathan, and John. They are great people we must never forget, nor rick their like lightly. Amen



Powerful post

Naqvee said...

The sacrifice for freedom of a nation is a grand sacrifice. It is because of them the countries of the world are Brave :)
Love Naqvee

Andy said...

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. - Jose Narosky

Brighton Pensioner said...

We in Britain remember and are thankful for the service of our Commonwealth friends.

Tabor said...

So many good men lost to both good and bad causes. When will we ever learn?

DJan said...

Thank you for this moving post. Blessings to all those wounded warriors who survived, and blessings to all who died too soon, and peace to all their mothers.

Shammickite said...

I will wear my poppy with pride today.
When I lived in England, I was a member of the TA, equivalent of the Melisha, and stood at attention freezing and shivering at many Remembrance Day Parades.

TexWisGirl said...

i remember my parents buying paper poppies when i was a child. i've not seen it done for years. i wish we'd return to that gesture - at least it is something we can show outwardly in remembrance.

Daniel LaFrance said...

Lest we forget.

Birdman said...

My Dad, a vet of WW2, always brought home poppies from the Legion Hall that I wore around the neighborhood and once to school. Simple, poignant reminder of the cost of war... in real terms.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

*salutes* for all of our veterans

Maggie May said...

We also had the two minutes silence in Britain. Did you see any pictures on your news about the thousands and thousands of ceramic poppies that represent one for each man who died on WW1, around the Tower of London? Might be worth Googling it if not.
I wish I could have gone to see the sight. People who did were very moved.
Maggie x

Mage said...

Tabor posts another kind of poem today. My thoughts are with hers.

Stephen Hayes said...

Definitely a day to reflect on those who served and sacrificed to protect our freedom.

Bob Bushell said...

Peace............

Marie Flutterby said...

It'll always be a heartbreaking reminding for those who never forget day after day; always remembered. ♥

Tabor said...

Hillary, I have no disrespect for those who give up years of their lives or even their lives for defense of country or a cause to make others free. I honor their bravery and I support those who come home to deal with visible and invisible scars. But we are now involved in a hundred year war, and as a child of the Viet Nam era, I wonder when we will enter into these challenges with intelligence and not emotion.

Daryl said...

its too bad we can't/dont honor those who serve/those who served every day

messymimi said...

They deserve our remembrance, today and always.

Red said...

Nicely written. I did not know the proper way to wear a poppy. I will look differently at those people who wear their poppy on their cap.

L. D. said...

I really appreciate hearing of the times spent to remember. It is a tough thing to serve and survive as well as difficult for those who were lost. My dad survived but then suffered and relived the Battle of the Bulge most everyday.

William Kendall said...

I was down there today. It was a very emotional service.

Barbara Shallue said...

Such a beautiful tradition, and I'm sure even more poignant this year than most. It seems when I was in elementary school we were given paper poppies to wear, but I haven't noticed it practiced here since. Thanks for re-posting the poem.

ellen abbott said...

unfortunately so many have fallen fighting not for freedom but for other less noble causes. I am fortunate that my son came home more or less undamaged from Iraq.

Gail Dixon said...

I have heard so much about that poem, but never read it. (I'm not much of a poem person) But I savored each word of this one. Compelling and heartbreaking words. I wish we did the poppy remembrance here since I read on another blog that an American woman had the idea. God bless all the fallen and the ones still protecting us.

yaya said...

This year had to mean so much more to your country...I'm sorry for the loss of that wonderful soldier. I can imagine the touching, heartfelt feelings seeing all those poppies on that tomb. I did take time out to remember...thank you for this wonderful post.

Michael Manning said...

I learned so much more about Canada from your heartfelt post, Hilary. No wonder we feel such a closeness to your beautiful country--our neighbor to the North. May God Bless this solider and all who are remembered on this day.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Amazing services across this country!

Indrani said...

This is a great tribute.

Betty Manousos said...

what a great tribute, hilary!
thank you for this wonderful post.

big hugs!