Sunday, November 11, 2018

Remembrance Day 2018... "Lest we forget."

On this cold November 11th, 2018, I found myself... as I have many times among the quiet crowd of many faces of citizens of Brockville who were gathered to commemorate the sanctity of this special day  which is set aside yearly. The day is celebrated by people around the globe to mark "Armistice Day"... for too many far flung conflicts.

This year's celebration focuses on the original armistice which ended World War War One, November 11th, 1918. It was seen then, a full one hundred years distant from today... as "the end of a war to end all wars." All who attended this year's service here have lived through another World War with its catastrophic horrors and inhumanities committed by all nations.

As well, even the youngest attending this service today have borne witness and felt the impact of loss of family members and neighbours. This is so... even in this very small River paradise... so very remote from the sadistic savagery committed by me just like ourselves upon innocents.

If anger and inhumanity still dwelt in the minds of veterans or families in attendance here... I did not sense it. What I did feel was the obvious genuine sense of grief, loss and deep sadness that I read on all faces around me. It seems incredulous and unthinkable  to me that any one of us could venture forth to take up arms ever again.

And yet, I witnessed with my very own eyes young men carrying automatic weapons... more fierce even than the weaponry that young men were given to bear in previous conflict(s). I watched... and heard applause as these young men and women "cadets" barely in their teens paraded proudly past us. They were already being groomed to assume their role as "cannon fodder"... sacrificial lambs .

These were the sons and daughters of the past for whom we all grieve here. What happened to those Words of Remembrance that we all rehearsed? The meaning of those words seem so shallow to me today:

"At the going down of the sun EACH day... we will remember them."

And on the very heels of these same words come another mouthed and h
ollow grouping...

"Lest we forget."

For many years I brought my classes here to stand with me... to learn by watching what that gift was to me. The Poem Flanders Field was read on this Remembrance Day by Michael Trussell, What a gift it was to me to know that we had shared that very same poem in my Grade Eight Class so many years ago... when we were both younger.

Here we are some fifty years later... Remembering... and sharing that very Peace that our fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles and neighbours had laid their lives down for. I guess that there remains
Hope...   through Faith

The torch be yours to hold it high..
If ye break faith with us who died, 
We shall not sleep
Though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Captain Matthew Dawe - killed on July 7th, 2007 while serving with the Princess Patricia Light Infantry in Afghanistan

Last Post - Gone now is my dear Friend and Mentor Jack Shepherd, Korean War Veteran to join comrades-in-arms

                                                 "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

                            My small painting gifted to the wife and son of Matt Dawe
                                                on behalf of our Sherman Family


  1. Hi Bruce,
    You make a good point about the nature of remembrance. In the past such events were still attended by people who had lived through the horrors. They were there to honour their fallen comrades, and an element of military parade was a focus for their sense of belonging and shared experience.
    However, now that most of those who march have not experienced war directly, perhaps the time has come to remove the military element from the remembrance services.

    All the best,

  2. Exactly my thoughts Keith. I will never forget that we are the recipients of those blessings of Peace and safety which was only gained by the sacrifice of so many young lives too soon.

    I try to bring honor to their legacy by living my own life in service and gratitude for their precious gifts.

    I think that we both share those beliefs Keith... and practise them in our daily lives.

    "At the going down of the sun'... I never fail to give thanks and remember.

    Thanks for your insights and thoughts of Remembrance Keith!

    Warmest regards,

  3. Hi Bruce, we live near a couple of military bases. They fly their planes over our beaches and forests and take an active part in the local community as well as contributed in a monetary way to the towns here. They constantly remind us that we are never free from wars and from loss of men and women who still fight to give us the freedom they enjoy. We must never forget them Bruce. Thank you for your insightful post. Best wishes to you from Scotland.

  4. No better way to express it Caroline, Thank you for sharing your own thoughts in regards to personal Remembrance.

    I would only add... that we should aS well remember those people in our current lives who contribute to our betterment with their presence... and simple gifts of support and friendship. This puts Remembrance into a clear focus that we all can appreciate.

    Good to hear from you again Lass! Miss your presence and contributions!

    Warmest regards,