In Flanders fields the poppies grow
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.
According to the website icasualties.org, the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have cost the lives of some 6,000+ American troops. Although that is a smaller number than most other wars of similar length and strength… wait, there are only two other wars that have lasted as long as this: the Northwest Indian war (1785–1795) and Vietnam, which lasted 20 years (1955–1975) and killed more than 47,000 of our servicemen. Nonetheless, this generation has its dead, too, and we honor them and all those who came before them today.
On October 21, 2011, President Obama announced the full withdrawal of all U.S. troops and trainers in Iraq, bringing that ten year old conflict to a close. Yet revelations made late last year and earlier this year reveal further involvement in that region of the world is nearly inevitable. In fact, there already is a silent but deadly war being waged in Pakistan, all via remotely controlled drones.
The death toll for civilians is ever growing.
But today we concentrate on those fighters who answered the call to defend their country, their ideologies, protect, defend, and maintain their country’s shores. Because this holiday was insitituted after on the last official day of World War I, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the holiday is meant to remember veterans from Canada, Britain, and the United States in particular.
This is their day. May they rest in peace. And may the current soldiers continue to be honored for their continued sacrifice.
In their honor I have put up my new American flag. I would have put up a Canadian flag too if I had one (given that I’m Canadian and that Canada also honors its vets on this day), but I don’t have one. Instead, I will proudly fly a Canadian flag here.
May we never forget the soldiers lying in eternal rest in Flanders Field and elsewhere.
Further reading: Before it was “Veteran’s Day” or the more politically neutral “Remembrance Day”, November 11th was “Armistice Day”, a celebration not of war but of peace. Read an account on the lost meaning of this day.