Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Here in Canada, today is Rememberance Day, the day when we give thanks to the veterans who fought overseas and sacrificed their lives so that we could live as a free and sovereign nation. Without any promise of personal gain, our nation has joined in the fight against despotic and fascist regimes again and again. We declared war against the Nazis in 1939, not in 1941 like our neighbours to the south.

Canadian soldiers have a reputation for being some of the toughest, bravest troops on the battlefield (witness how we performed in WWI or on WWII) and that is why the side that Canada is on can usually be trusted to win the day. We don't invade nations without reason. We support our allies when the peace of the world is truly threatened.

John McCrae was a Canadian soldier who was fighting in the Ypres Salient in WWI. He was also a poet and here is his greatest contribution to Canada, the poem "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.

(John McCrae, 1915)

War is repugnant and usually needless, but when all is said and done, some battles are unavoidable. We must remember the soldiers that never made it home, those who came back missing an arm or a leg, and all the other veterans of wars (popular or unpopular). I hope that our country respects their eternal sacrifice and remembers.