It is the time of year in which everyone, young and old, is wearing a poppy over their heart. As observed in many countries, November 11th is day of honouring those whom have died for their country. It was originally chosen to commemorate the end of the first World War. Here, in Canada, we call it Remembrance Day, and at 11:00am, we take a minute to remember. As years pass we remember loved ones who fought in the war, grandparents whose youth was lost in battle, soldiers who died for our rights, and, unfortunately, the continued loss of life in present day fights.
The poppy has become a major symbol of this remembrance. It was the first flower to grow after the ground had been disturbed with burial. As I mentioned, we wear the poppy over our hearts. For a small donation, these can be picked up at any supermarket, coffee shop, or mall entrance. There may be a young cadet selling them outside a store or just a tray sitting on a counter. Donations depend on the honour system. The poppy is then dutifully pierced through our coats, sweaters, or purses.
A lack of engineering, and I am certain, of funding, has kept the poppies’ design simple and their pin straight. This, of course, leads to the annual poppy frustration that is as culturally present as the poppy itself. We are continuously poked by the pin in our fingers, and worse, in our chest. They are also always disappearing. It is not uncommon to buy three or four during the season. Yet, no one would dream of not wearing one and of not showing their respect.
My Poppy is held on by a tiny Canadian pin, to avoid catastrophe.
Remembrance Day is important to continue despite the “ancient history” that new generations may believe it is. For, if we do not remember our past, it just may repeat itself.
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
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