Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Remembrance Day

Tomorrow is November 11.

At 11am stop everything you are doing. Stop working, stop talking, stop playing, stop reading, stop listening to music, stop everything.

Stop everything and listen to the wind.

Listen to the voices on the wind of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. Listen to the voices in your head that tell you that you know why you're free today. The voices of souls who long ago died on the battlefields of Verdun, of Vimy, Passchendaele, of Cambrai, the Somme, Normandy, Ortona, the marshes of Holland, the hills of Korea, the sands of Afghanistan.

Stop and thank them, in your own little way. Say a prayer for them or their families, or just stand there, and listen to them. They still talk to us. It's when they stop talking to us that we begin the process of forgetting. That's not what this day is about. This day is about remembering, so that it never happens again. The tyranny of the world's past cannot ever come back to threaten our freedom, the idiots of the world must be kept in their places. The sacrifices of those who fell on far off fields of battle have made that possible. Without the 42,041 Canadians who were killed in World War Two, as well as the other allied nations, Hitler would have kept going.

All the way back to the War of 1812, Canadians were dying for what they believe. We weren't a country back then, but we were still Canadian. That pride started there, and has never faultered. By the way, we lost 1,600 in that conflict, including some old relatives of mine. While that war was against our greatest present ally, it was different then. With the Bicentennial of that conflict approaching, it's fitting to get it mentioned, as it will many more times in the near future. I will be making a pilgrimage to the Niagara region to pay my respects, you should as well. And when you do, stop, and listen to the wind. The dead of that war will talk to you too.

A couple of years ago I wrote this post. I put tons of research into it, crossed my i's and dotted my t's, and since then I've had hundreds of hits on it. I guess I got the info right. I urge you to re-read it, because nothing I can say here does it justice. The dead talk there too. In the names of the places they died, and from that, one can get a firm idea of why they are buried in far off lands, or have no known grave, only a name on a granite monument. There are over 112,300 Canadian war dead. There are countless wounded. The numbers who have paid the price are staggering.

In World War One, Canada had a population of around 7 million people. 400,000 volunteered to fight. Think about that for a moment. That's 6% of the population of the country. Of those, 66,000 didn't come home. That's 16.5% of those who went. A huge amount. To date, we've lost 152 in Afghanistan. 152 dead in a country of 33,000,000. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating more casualties, what I'm saying here is the war was so massive, such a scale that nobody now can even comprehend it. Imagine the City of Chatham dying in one blow. That was the Somme. Think about the sheer magnitude of this "War to End All Wars". Think about the fact that it wasn't.

Think about them. I also wrote this, last year. I also go lots of hits from it. I hope some of the people who read it teared up, I know that a year after writing it, I still did. This story, in a different version, was true. Men did this. Remembering started that day...

At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, the guns fell silent, and remembering began.
Wouldn't it be nice if the guns truly fell silent? Wouldn't it be nice to just here the wind?

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.

Painting: Ghosts of Vimy Ridge
Depicting the ghosts of the Canadian Corps on Vimy Ridge surrounding the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Oil on canvas, 138 x 270.2 cm. Source Canadian House of Commons Collection, (AN: O-4714). 1931 William Longstaff


  1. I hear them all.

    Thank you brother for reminding us all, yet again, of why we are here and what we need never forget.

    I Love You

  2. Thanks Keith ... so well said.
    Love you cousin ♥

  3. Well said.

    I'll be paying my respects here in the US with fellow veterans today.


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