The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we are respectfully, almost there again. It was on the eleventh of November, 1918 that a cease-fire with Germany was agreed upon. This day was commemorated as Armistice Day in the United States, Great Britain, and France. After World War 2, the holiday was recognized as a day of tribute to veterans of both world wars. Beginning in 1954, the United States designated November 11th as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars.
World War 1 was once coined as being ‘the war to end all wars’, although obviously, it wasn’t. Throughout history armies have fought armies; soldiers have fallen in the name of freedom. As civilians, we owe our servicemen and women a debt of gratitude. It is because of their sacrifice and their courage that we are able to go about our daily lives.
On December 8th, 1915 London based, Punch Magazine, published a poem entitled, Flanders Fields. The poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He wrote the poem back in May of that year after attending the funeral of friend and fellow soldier, Alexis Helmer, who died the in Second Battle of Ypres.
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:
you from failing hands we throw
then 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
The corn poppy was one of the one plants that grew on the battlefield. During the few weeks the plant blossomed, the battlefield was colored blood red, not just from the red flower that grew in great numbers but also from the actual blood of the dead soldiers that lay scattered and untended to on the otherwise barren battlegrounds.
Ever since I was a child I remember poppy-sellers standing on sidewalks throughout October, remember men, women and children proudly bearing that symbolic flower as a sign of respect. So many have suffered and died on the battlefields of history so that we may live in a free world. We are forever in debt to them. So wear your poppy with pride, and know that you are only here today because of the extreme sacrifices of thousands of servicemen and women, who were prepared to defend the free world with their lives.
Remembrance Sunday is the culmination of a year’s effort to make 38 million Remembrance poppies.
I would like to leave you with a quotation that I found online.“History has taught us over and over again that freedom is not free. When push comes to shove, the ultimate protectors of freedom and liberty are the brave men and women in our armed forces. Throughout our history, they’ve answered the call in bravery and sacrifice.” … Tim Pawlenty (former Minnesota governor)
Have a great day …. Gavin