Saturday, November 11, 2017

Remembrance Day 2017

It's Remembrance Day 2017, and a time to remember all those who fought and died for our country.

A time to remember my fighting grandfathers...

Who survived the war but were marked by it forever.

And give thanks that this year we'll also take a moment to remember this young soldier.

Cpl. Michael David Abel, the son of this years's Silver Cross mother, who fought and died in a war most Canadians would rather forget.

A soldier whose regiment went down with him, after a terrible incident that shamed us all.

And who didn't die heroically, but was shot accidentally by a friend.

But whose death serves to remind us of all the other soldiers who lost their lives far from the battlefield.

Like most of the Canadian flyers buried in this small cemetery in the north of Scotland...

Who were learning to fly bombers at a nearby RAF base, only to have their planes go down in the misty highlands...

But I who tend their graves every summer consider them all heroes, for volunteering to fight for Canada.

Even though so many were so young...

And knew that they could be killed before they had a chance to really live, or love, or do all the things we take for granted.

Along with the freedom they died defending.

So today like so many other Canadians, I will pause a moment to remember them. 

Raise my head out of the muck the fascists of today would have me live in, think of nobler things.

Vow to die happily for freedom and Canada should my turn ever come.

And let the words of the Canadian doctor Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, written in poppies, pay tribute to them all...


Anonymous said...

I hope the white poppies movement becomes more popular. Contrary to popular belief, it's not about dishonoring the soldiers or branding them murderers. Quite the opposite. It's about commemorating the horrors that they endured, and advocating for a more peaceful world so that no one ever has to endure those horrors again.

Steve said...

we remember but dont think

Unknown said...

Where is this in Northern Scotland?

Simon said...

Hi anon...I have no objections to the white poppy movement, and I share the goal of ending all wars and building a more peaceful world....

Simon said...

Hi Steve....I try to do both. I lost one friend in the British army, and have another one who suffers from PTSD. We can't do anything for the dead, but we can help the living....

Simon said...

Hi Helen....that's Kinloss Abbey, between Findhorn and Forres in the Moray...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous.....The red poppy already does that.

David said...

A local newspaper editorial includes this sentence: “For Remembrance Day isn’t a celebration of war, but a time to remember the courage and sacrifice of those who chose to fight for a higher purpose.”

I just wish all those who are members of peace groups, or are on the far-left of the political spectrum, understood that.

Webisode: Behind I Am War: History Canada

Trailer: I Am War (2017)

History Channel (Canada)

I Am War (2017)

Nov. 11, 2017: 11 pm PT/ 2:00 am ET

I Am War is a new TV special that tells the personal accounts of five men and women who fought with the Canadian Forces during the Afghanistan War and how these traumatic experiences have changed their lives. These compelling testimonials are personal journeys into war based on actual events and stories from firsthand witnesses.

David said...

On November 9, a veterans rally took place on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

During the press conference, retired major Mark Campbell, who lost both legs in Afghanistan, told reporters:

"Veterans are angry, particularly the generation of modern veterans that have been subjected to the New Veterans Charter since 2006, which saw a significant 40 to 90 per cent reduction in our disability compensation in the middle of the [Afghanistan] war, while we were fighting the war, without telling any of us that our disability compensation was being reduced. That, in and of itself, was an unconscionable act on the part of the government of Canada. We need to rectify that with a return to the life-long pensions. It has to be a true pension, and it has to achieve parity with the former Pension Act or it's all been a waste of time, and Veterans Affairs and the government of Canada’s credibility with the veteran community will die. This is the hill that Veterans Affairs is going to die on if the government of Canada does not get it right next month."

Harper on Veterans (satire)

CBC News: World at Six for 2017/11/09 at 17:30 EST

8:48 Veterans advocates pressure Trudeau government

26:39 Retired major Mark Campbell

'Liberals have let us down, ' says frustrated vet awaiting pension decision

John Ivison: Liberals to buy peace by fulfilling promise to re-instate life-long pensions for veterans

Canada's shameful history of neglecting veterans

'You Have Forgotten': Seven Conservative Attacks on Canada's Veterans

In 1917, Prime Minister Robert Borden said: "When a Canadian enlists, they are promised that if they are injured or killed in service, then Canada will take care of them and their loved ones. This social contract is our sacred obligation to those who serve. We Canadians must defend it."

David said...

Leonard Cohen recites “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae | Legion Magazine

Simon said...

Hi Way Way Up...thanks for pointing that out, I should have mentioned that myself. I know some consider the red poppy to be a symbol of militarism but I don't. When I was in Belfast once I was told that if you were a Republican and supported the Catholic civil right's cause you didn't wear a poppy. Which alarmed me because although I'm a Protestant all my friends were Catholics. But the story of the poppy as developed by McCrae is one of tragedy. He was in his early forties, but his best friend was a very handsome 22-year-old named Alexis Helmer. Helmer was hit by a shell that literally blew him to pieces, his friends had to gather up the pieces and put them into a bag for burial, and the devastated McCrae was forced to perform the funeral service. He is said to have written the first draft of his famous poem the next day while still heartbroken. Although that poem ends on an uplifting note, McRae became more and more morose as the war dragged on. And his depressed condition is believed by some to have contributed to him contracting first pneumonia and then meningitis which proved fatal. So yes, while a white poppy is also OK as far as I'm concerned, the red poppy is a symbol of sorrow for all those lives lost, and because of John McCrae is one with a very special Canadian connection....

Simon said...

hi David...I'm aware of the so-called Equitas case, and I'm told that the Liberals are preparing to restore the life-long pension system that was eliminated by the Harper regime. A court case which was first suspended and them revived has inexplicably been allowed to slow down that restoration. So the sooner the Liberals act the better...

Filcher said...

A little history on the adoption of the poppy and it's symbolism as viewed today.

"Oh! you who sleep in Flanders’ fields
Sleep sweet – to rise anew.
We caught the torch you threw
And, holding high, we keep Faith
With those who died.
We cherished, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of flowers that bloom above the dead
In Flanders’ fields.
And now the torch and poppy red
We wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields."
~Miss Moina Michael, 1918, in response to "In Flander's Fields". Miss Michaels was an American who was so moved by McCrae's poem that she started a movement centered around the wearing of a poppy in honor of the war dead (NYC 1918) , which was later taken up by a frenchwoman, Madam Guerinn, and spread from France and later to Great Britain.
The Canadian poppy campaign was instituted by a meeting of the Great War Veterans Association (G.W.V.A.) at the Prince Arthur Hotel from July 4-6, 1921 (Port Arthur and Fort William became the City of Thunder Bay in 1970)