In Flanders fields the poppies blow...
We all know this famous line, and the poem from which it stems.
Lt. Col. John McCrae wrote this iconic poem while in the trenches at the Second Battle of Ypres. Amid the gas and the bloodshed bloomed poppies. How strange it must have been to see something so simple and beautiful while the horrors of war raged around.
At Remembrance Day ceremonies around the country, we read In Flanders Fields. It serves to remind us that those who gave their lives were not simply folk heroes of the past but real, living people – with families and friends, dreams and ambitions. They were our brothers and sisters; our mothers and fathers; our children.
Last year I had the privilege of joining Veterans Affairs Canada in Italy to commemorate the Italian Campaign of the Second World War. I was astonished by the gratitude of the Italian people all these years later. At each stop of our tour, hundreds of Italians came to pay their respects. The legendary bravery of our soldiers who fought to defend the freedoms and rights of others lives on to this day.
It is easy for us to forget that the peace and freedom we enjoy today comes at a price. The crimson red poppy serves as a reminder of their sacrifice, and marks their place - pinned close to our hearts.
This Remembrance Day, thank a veteran, and please wear a poppy to support your local Legion. As Winston Churchill said, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”
For those who returned wrapped in the Flag, for those who returned home with wounds both seen and unseen, and for those women and men in uniform who continue to stand on guard: we will take up the torch. We will keep the faith.
Lest we forget