Lest we forget.
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 war poem “In Flanders Fields” was written during the First World War by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. The Second Battle of Ypres (via Wikipedia) was a First World War battle fought for control of the strategic Flemish town of Ypres in western Belgium in the spring of 1915, following the First Battle of Ypres the previous autumn. It marked the first time that Germany used poison gas on a large scale on the Western Front. Additionally, the battle was the first time that a former colonial force (the 1st Canadian Division) defeated a major European power (the German Empire) on European soil, in the Battle of St. Julien-Kitcheners’ Wood.
Today, on November 11, we take a moment to remember. There are ceremonies of remembrance being held all over Canada. These ceremonies are meant to provide moments of silence to reflect on the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers. As red poppies are being worn with pride, let us give thanks and honour to our veterans – both aged and young. Let us commemorate Remembrance Day.
If you are planning to check out some of the 2013 Remembrance Day Special Ceremonies in Ottawa (Information sourced from Ottawa Tourism. For more details, visit the official Ottawa Tourism site), here are some of the some of the services being held at the following sites:
Lest we forget…
National War Memorial (10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
Every year, the Royal Canadian Legion organizes the National Ceremony of Remembrance at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa. Highlights include the veterans themselves on parade, the attendance of the Prime Minister, the Governor General of Canada, and the Silver Cross Mother – a woman whose child has died while serving in the military. A couple years ago, Prince William and (then) Kate Middleton visited the memorial, as well as the Queen, Queen Elizabeth herself and Prince Charles and Camilla the year after that. There is also a wreath laying ceremony, a moving children’s choir performance and a rousing fly-past. Arrive early to secure a good vantage point. www.legion.ca/honour-remember/the-national-ceremony
Canadian War Museum (10:40 a.m.)
The Canadian War Museum, situated west of downtown, is a living memorial to Canada’s proud military history. On November 11, Memorial Hall, located inside the Museum’s main entrance, becomes the centerpiece. Here, at exactly 11:00 a.m. a beam of sunlight shines through a single window into Memorial Hall to perfectly frame the headstone from the grave of Canada’s Unknown Soldier. Museum admission is free on Remembrance Day. www.warmuseum.ca/remember
Beechwood Cemetery (10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
East of Ottawa, a ceremony of Remembrance takes place at the National Military Cemetery on the grounds of the beautiful Beechwood Cemetery. The ceremony honours all those who have fallen in the service of Canada and all Canadian Forces members interred at the cemetery. www.beechwoodcemetery.com
School Ceremonies and Moments of Silence (11:00 am or anytime)
All over the country, children are remembering those who fought for our freedom in ceremonies meant to honour our soldiers, veterans and new. Even if you cannot make it to these ceremonies, wear your red poppy, offer your prayers and moments of silence for those who died to keep us free.