Remembrance Day


Listen to "In Flanders Fields", read by Don Jackson

Listen to "Reply to In Flanders Fields",
read by Don Jackson

Listen to "Another Reply to In Flanders Fields", 
read by Don Jackson

Listen to "America's Answer", read by Don Jackson

In Flanders Fields by 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.

The words of John McCrae, a doctor in the trenches during World War I, remind us to never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. A moment of silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month seems such a small sacrifice on our part. 

My father was a proud member of the armed forces of this country. He was in the Air Force during World War II. He was a firefighter stationed at an air base in Calgary, Alberta. Other young men my father’s age were training to be pilots at this same base. Some would eventually fly fighter planes and large bombers overseas. Others, sadly, never made it past the training. It was my father’s job to go out to the crash sites on the air field and runways to douse the flames of their mistakes. Even though he was never stationed overseas in the theatre of battle, his service to his country was no less important. 

My father survived the war, but many of his friends sent into the heat of battle did not. Years later, I met some of those he served with and other air force veterans at a service club my father was president of for many years—the 420 Wing, in Oshawa, Ontario. The stories they told while sitting in the lounge or during a game of shuffleboard were a living history lesson. All were proud to serve this country. Not one ever said they regretted their decision to enlist. 

My father is the man in uniform in the photograph on this page. I thought I would share it with you. He was one of the fortunate ones to live a full life and raise a family. He always took a few moments with other servicemen and women to attend ceremonies to honor his fallen comrades. His reasons were personal. On Remembrance Day in Canada and Veteran’s Day in the States, many will be observing a moment of silence for their own personal reasons.  

 

Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;                     
The torch your falling hands let go                     
Was caught by us, again held high,                   
A beacon light in Flanders sky                   
That dims the stars to those below.

You are our dead, you held the foe,                    
And ere the poppies cease to blow,                    
We’ll prove our faith in you who lie                     
In Flanders Fields.                    

Oh! Rest in peace, we quickly go                   
To you who bravely died, and know                   
In other fields was heard the cry,                   
For freedom’s cause, of you who lie,                   
So still asleep where poppies grow,                     
In Flanders Fields.                    

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,                   
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,                   
The mighty hosts appear, and high                   
Above the din of battle cry.                   
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,                   
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,                   
And guard the place where poppies grow. 

Oh! Sleep in peace, all you who lie                      
In Flanders Fields.                    

And still the poppies gently blow,                   
Between the crosses, row on row.                   
The larks, still bravely soaring high,                   
Are singing now their lullaby                   
To you who sleep where poppies grow                   
In Flanders Fields                                                 

       John Mitchell  


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