Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them

- Laurence Binyon

Today Canadians honour those that have fought and died in war and peacekeeping missions around the world. As you can see a lot of people gather at the Legislature.

There were a lot of people around dressed like this. My favourites were the Scottish regiments. There's almost nothing better than a man in a kilt. I didn't manage to snag a picture of one though so you'll just have to imagine how smart they looked.

This is our War Memorial at the Legislature. There were various hymns sung, two minutes of silence as well as cannon shots, wreath laying and the march past. An honour guard composed of the Army, Navy, Air Force and RCMP surrounded the Memorial. Usually we also have a fly past by the Air Force but today was overcast and wet.

This gentleman was laying wreaths for deceased fellow veterans. I was really happy to see so many families and young people down here. Almost everyone had a poppy on. It's so important to take time out of your day to remember those who died in order to keep us safe, so that we wouldn't have to fight.

A tradition that started a few years ago at the National War Memorial in Ottawa had people leaving their poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was happy to see people leaving their poppies at our Memorial and I decided to do the same.


Dark Orpheus said...

Do you happen to know why they chose to us poppy flowers?

theduckthief said...

Orpheus I am so glad you asked!

It's all thanks to a Canadian soldier named John McCrea. In 1915, John, a doctor, was working in France. He witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer and wrote a poem about it called "In Flanders Fields".

It became one of the most popular poems of the war. It was used in fundraisers and the poppy became a symbol of remembrance. It was thought their colour was an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare.

This is directly from Wiki:

American YMCA Overseas War Secretaries employee, Moina Michael, was inspired to make 25 silk poppies based on McCrae's poem, which she distributed to attendees of the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries' Conference. She then made an effort to have the poppy adopted as a national symbol of remembrance, and succeeded in having the National American Legion Conference adopt it two years later. At this conference, a Frenchwoman, Anna E. Guérin, was inspired to introduce the widely used artificial poppies given out today. In 1921 she sent her poppy sellers to London, England, where they were adopted by Field Marshall Douglas Haig, a founder of the Royal British Legion, as well as by veterans' groups in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Some people choose to wear white poppies, which emphasises a desire for peaceful alternatives to military action.

It's suggested that people wear poppies on their left lapel, as close to their hearts as possible.