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Posts Tagged ‘#wewillrememberthem’

At the funeral of Sister Margaret Lowe, 1918

Today, as Canadians, we remember those who gave their lives and youth in service to their country, their communities and to the pursuit of peace in other countries, around the world, in various conflicts in odd … virtual services of remembrance due to the pandemic.

It is not something I can personally understand, the idea of leaving the safety of my home, family and community to travel into an unfamiliar place filled where one’s life could be snuffed out at any time.

I wonder if I would be so selfless.

Military members and numerous volunteers have been, and continue to be so selfless.

One group of individuals who have given in times of conflict and world struggle are nurses.

Predominantly (but not exclusively) women, these nurses who cared for the wounded in field hospitals and even close to the front, risking and even losing their lives in their service.

Days that were long and resources that were often short was their wartime nursing norm. In a place of the horrors, fear and death all around them, they had to have steady hands, clear minds and the ability to dole out what must have seemed a daydream … encouragement and hope.

There are countless stories of servicemen in WW1 and WW2 who credit their lives to nurses who cared for them after injuries. They tell of having rediscovered their desire and purpose for living from the steady, patient and encouraging voice of one at their bedside, in their darkest hours.

This current pandemic is a close-to-home reminder of the selflessness, commitment and sacrifice of those who serve their communities as nurses.

As I bow my head, this Remembrance Day, my thoughts will be specifically, of those who gave in wartime as well as those who continue to do so.

They were young, as we are young,
They served, giving freely of themselves.
To them, we pledge, amid the winds of time,
To carry their torch and never forget.
We will remember them.

We will remember them.

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“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them
Robert Laurence Binyon

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I grew up in a time which remembered sacrifice, on this day. I grew up in a place that understood peace keeping, as every high school graduating class included students who were to pursue that as their future profession. I have lived in our nations capital, of Ottawa, where the images of sacrifice were all around, and where every school, church and neighborhood had members of Canada’s peace keeping military.

This year, this Remembrance Day, social media has provided visual symbols of remembrance with relevance for today.

IMG_1547.JPGMy favorite image is the one to the left. A visual response by artist, Bruce MacKinnon (The Halifax Chronicle Herald), after the October 22, 2014 killing of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, while standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa. Although I have not seen any similar images, honoring Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was run down, while wearing uniform, in Quebec, I believe that MacKinnon’s image will bring both, and their grieving families, to the minds of all who see it.

We will remember them …

IMG_1541.JPGThe haunting words of John McCrae, and his poem “In Flander’s Fields.” The image of the poppy, representing the continuance of life, after those whose blood was spilled, fighting a foe we are encouraged to continue battling (“take up our quarrel with the foe … if ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep”). We must battle for peace, in word and, if necessary, in deed. Those, who McCrae wrote of, had to battle in deed.

We will remember them …

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The Tower of London, bathed in 888,246 ceramic blooms, each representing a lost life in World War I … 100 years ago, when that war began. This work of art is called “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.”

We will remember them …

IMG_1540.JPGNovember 11, every year, we have opportunity to remember those who gave their lives, those whose lives were forever changed. Attending a service of Remembrance, watching one on the television or online … taking a moment to be silent, and remember. These are opportunities to honor, not war, but the privilege of living in peace, at the expense of others who have gone before us.

We will remember them …

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Our six years of living in Ottawa acquainted me with the honor no mother ever wants, that of being awarded the Silver Cross. This ‘award’ is given to Canadian mothers who have lost a son or daughter in service to this country. The National Silver Cross mother has been chosen to lay a wreath during Canada’s Remembrance Day ceremony, in Ottawa, as a representative of all mothers who have lost a child in service. This year, Gisèle Michaud, whose son. Master Cpl. Charles-Philippe Michaud, was wounded after stepping on an explosive device, in June, 2009, in Afghanistan, is Canada’s Silver Cross Mom.

We will remember them …

IMG_1546.JPGThe image above, of people atop a bank, overlooking a beach, with the image of the soldiers who fought for that beach, for the freedom of going to the beach, has caught my attention this year. I could not find the name of the artist, or of the specific place or story it depicts. Could it be Normany? Dieppe? Does it matter? What is important is that we remember that the freedom we have has been bought by a high cost.

We will remember them …

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