Our forefathers sacrificed their lives in the service and defence of our great country so that we can live as free people. We will always remember them.
In Flanders Fields
Today we remember the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, of the year 1918. Germany signed an armistice agreement which marked the end of the “great war”, a war that cost the lives of nine million soldiers, a war that left a further twenty-one million wounded in its wake.
John McCrae, a Canadian who served as a brigade surgeon for an Allied artillery unit, tended to the wounds of those who fell victim to the horrors of war. John witnessed absolute carnage; he dealt with human suffering and loss of life the likes of which we may never see in our lifetime. During the second battle of Ypres, a Belgium town in the province of West Flanders, Germans unleashed chlorine gas on Allied forces, around 87,000 Allied soldiers were either killed, wounded or were simply “missing” after.
Seeing the devastation and an almost insurmountable loss of human life, John reflected on those who paid the ultimate cost of war, soldiers who sacrificed their lives fighting the enemy. Seeing bright red blooms on broken ground, he wrote a poem about the brave men buried “under those hardy poppies”.
The poem, “In Flanders Fields”, has immortalised the suffering and the sacrifice of our forefathers. 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 message of the poem was clear as was it’s intent.
Lest We Forget!
Although remembrance day’s origins are based on the end of the “Great War”, it is also founded on the principles of patriotism, sacrifice, and love for nation. Many of us will have relatives who fought in wars, some who are still alive and some who are not; we will always remember them for they are the very best of us.
On remembrance day, we also pay tribute to all those brave men and women currently serving in our Armed Forces. Men and women who have signed up to protect our nation from its enemies know they could pay the gravest of costs.
We owe it to our fallen, to those who have survived the ravages of war and to those who currently serve our great nation, to love, appreciate, respect and remember who they were, who they are and perhaps more importantly why they serve.
By educating our children and by memorialising the sacrifices of our fallen, we will immortalise those who fought and died for our great nation, for it is their sacrifice which allows us to live as free people.