Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

Today is November 11th, and in Canada, that means it's Remembrance Day.  Well, strictly speaking, it's not Remembrance Day yet, because it's only still the 10th in Canada as I write this.  You see, the time zone thing is very strange.  I'm currently living in November 11th here in Korea, which means... whoa, I'm in the future!  This is incredible!  Let me see if I can get today's lotto numbers for people back in North America... okay, something's wrong there, the Lotto 6/49 website hasn't updated to today yet.  Wait... if I'm in the future, what happens to past me?  Could I conceivably meet myself and somehow screw up time?  What if I do something to alter history so that I'm never born?!?  Wait, it's only a sixteen-hour difference... but I could change things... oh, this is far too much power for one person to have... I can't...

Okay, sorry about that, I've now upped my meds, and can continue on in a semi-rational manner.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in
Ottawa on Remembrance Day
Remembrance Day is observed on November 11th in order to mark the date of the Armistice following the First World War.  Historically, that war ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918 when Germany signed the Armistice.  Remembrance Day is observed by the countries of the Commonwealth.

Traditionally, one or two minutes of silence are observed at 11:00 a.m. in memory of the soldiers who fought and died since World War One.  In Canada, official Remembrance Day ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, with the Governor General and other government representatives in attendance.  In Canadian schools, Remembrance Day assemblies are held, usually the day before Remembrance Day as the 11th itself is a national holiday.

A small red flower, called a "poppy," is worn on the left lapel during the two weeks before Remembrance Day, and on Remembrance Day itself.  In many of the battlefields of Europe, poppies grew, leading Canadian military physician John McCrae to author a poem entitled "In Flanders Fields."

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.

Since the 1920s, poppies have been a symbol of Remembrance Day throughout the Commonwealth.

I hope that this post has been at least a little educational to my non-Canadian (or Commonwealth country) friends.  Tomorrow, I'll write a post about a special day that is celebrated in Korea, which also falls on November 11th.


Anonymous said...

Excellent write-up on Remembrance Day, Dan. Thank you. GreenFlora47 signing as Anon because I can't remember my google password! (I think they changed it..)

Elwood said...

I don't think any of that is true.

I'm pretty sure scholars maintain that the true meaning of the poppy was lost long ago, and that Remembrance is for watching the HBO mini-series 'Band-of-Brothers'.

Nice attempt, though

Kertrats said...

Hmm... is there a way to upvote comments? Or some manner of Facebook "like" system?

Kertrats said...

Oh, and I also have Band of Brothers, but I don't know when I'm going to have any time to watch it...