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.
~Lt. Col. John McCrae (May 3, 1915)
This well known poem was written by physician and poet Lt. Col. McCrae soon after performing the burial service for a friend who died in the second battle of Ypres around Flanders, Belgium during World War 1. He was inspired by the way poppies had grown so quickly around the graves of his fallen comrades.
This poem is what I remember from the Remembrance/Veterans Day ceremonies growing up. Even though I had a grandfather in the war I regrettably, never felt connected to the day. I could not comprehend the enormity of their efforts and what those efforts meant to the outcome of my life. Of how different the world would be without their bravery and sacrifices. Give this some reflection, what if we were governed by another ruler's ideals? Now, that is one scary thought. Therefore, let's all remember that it is because of these brave countrymen we have the freedom to be. Because of them; we have freedom to vote. Because of them; we have freedom of choice. Because of them; we have freedom of voice. Because of them; we have freedom of rights. Because of them; we have the freedom to simply exist as our continent. I have lived in three different countries and whether you realize it or not, we are darn lucky to live in North America. And North America is North America because of the battles fought by our selfless servicemen. Even with the perceived current state of our respective country, we are still incredibly blessed.
If my Papa was alive today, I would give him the most heartfelt embrace and tell him how proud I was of his bravery and how grateful I was for the noble sacrifices he made so that we could live a better life. And truly, there are not enough words in existence to express how deeply this gratitude runs.
In my opinion, veterans should be remembered every day not just on November 11th (hence me posting this on November 12th... smile).
Now, have you hugged a veteran today? If not, you better.