Today, November 11, 2013, we remember all those who have laid down their lives in the service of their country. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States all celebrate Remembrance Day, Remembrance Sunday, Armistice Day, Veterans Day or something similar. I am not sure what it is called in Germany, Japan, Italy, North Korea, Russia but I am sure there is a day where those countries also commemorate the men and women who have died in their service.
What is happening around this big country of ours at the moment depends on the time zone you are in. Somewhere there are people who have just finished the minute of silence, there are those who are still sleeping and hoping for that last minute of sleep on a day off. Still others are up and getting ready for the parade. Shoes have been shined medals are affixed; hats will be set just so. Musicians are making their way to or from form up areas. Veterans are making their way from the ceremony to a local legion to commiserate with other Veterans or family and friends.
Regardless of what your time zone the purpose of today is to remember! Remember what those who did not come home represent! For us, the winning side in many of these conflicts, we remember that these people died protecting our values, morales, our way of life. We remember that they vanquished an enemy! We listen to the stories from our diminishing numbers of Second World War Veterans about their friends, their mates who did exceptional things to protect them. We wonder why? At that point, and not having been there I accept that I will be challenged on this, it is not about the big picture it is about doing what needs to be done. It’s about that split second where someone reacts in a selfless way that people, quite rightly, afterwards call heroism. That we miss the voice, the touch, the being able to talk to and listen to that Hero escapes most people, except those who experience the personal loss. The staring into the eyes of a person who has seen “the beast” and noticing that they are no longer the same person as before also seems to escape those who are not personally engaged. It is thinking about those people whom we did not get to meet because they died so young. It is about those who we knew but were not able to come home to their young daughters. It is about those who made a difference to so many others!
Today, now, as we have our cup of coffee and breakfast, as we scramble for our medals, uniforms, instruments, to get the kids into their warm clothes for the ceremony, we pause. Imagine those oh so young faces, regardless of race, creed, nationality, side who are now forever young. As the line from “In Flanders Fields” goes;
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.
At the 11th hour on this the 11th day of the 11th month. Please join with all those who remember the fallen.
Lest We Forget!