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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day

I always prefer this day being called Armistice Day for its origins was the day they signed the Armistice of the  First World War, the Great War, the War to End All Wars, (such irony) at the 11th hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month in 1918.

Wiser men than I have decided to rename it, while retaining the association to the  moment of the Armistice.

This Day also has very strong ties to Canada, where the association of the symbol of the poppy was first established and made permanent  with the iconic poem "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian, John McCrae., which every school child learned to recite,  (I am not sure that is still the case, it seems schools these day do not want to embarrass students by having the read or recite aloud in front of their peers).

As a pacifist I think often of war and the futility of war.  It seems we never learn.

I always think of the Uncle Ross Reid of this day.  He was a pilot in the Second World War served in Western Canada and Alaska,  Britain  and Holland. He was involved in the D-Day invasion to begin the liberation of Europe.  He  married my aunt Billie just days before he left for war, not knowing if he would live or die.  He survived and remained in the military for a number of years after the war.  He and my aunt had three children and adopted two others.  The Reid clan now counts among them  geat-grandchildren.

My Uncle Ross is the second from the left.  Shortly, after this picture was taken the  flyers on the wing and the one on his far  right were killed in the war.

Two years ago, Lynne and I visited The Flanders part of Belgium.and Northern France. Here stands the Vimy Ridge Memorial,  near Ypres, France. which hold great significance for Canadians,  where the Canadian Corp distinquished itself , dislodging the Germans from this piece of land, where other had failed.  It is a very emotional experience to be here and read the names on the monument of the names of those who died.

This is a small corner of the monumental Menin Gate  at Yypes, France.  Here were these wreaths left by Canadians, many of them students. Here there are 55 thousand names of Commonwealth Soldiers who died in the First World War and whose remains were never identified.. (If you need any reminder how dreadful WWI was, this fact should do it) I actually found this memorial the most emotional.

It would be instructive for every Canadian to visit Flanders and  Northern France to experience the many sites where Canadians fought and died in both the First and Second World Wars.

Any day is a good day to listen to the songs of Vera Lynn.  Remembrance Day is the perfect day to listen. I love her songs and get very emotional when I hear many of them,  with their associations with the Second World War. Here is just one.  Dame Vera Lynn is still with us.


At 11:46 a.m., Blogger Owen Gray said...

A superb post, Philip. I have been watching the ceremonies from Ottawa.

I am always impressed with the weathered features of the veterans. Those faces tell the story of war -- all wars.

At 3:57 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Our old British neighbour in Sarnia used to blast Vera for the neighbourhood at times. It wasn't often, and I didn't mind at all.

At 8:30 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--whether we call it Veterans Day or Armistice Day--it is remembered and honored, but only among the Allies.
We found, to our surprise, when we were in Germany last year that Germans in Cologne had NO idea about November 11. They were telling us about wearing costumes on Hallowe'en and on November 11. We were puzzled--well, it's The Feast of St. Martin, they said. When we said that we celebrated Veterans' Day, for the armistice ending World War I--the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, they simply had not heard of it.

At 12:42 p.m., Blogger Optimistic Existentialist said...

Beautiful tribute sir. Beautiful tribute indeed.


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