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Remembrance Day is Important to Me


Today we commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces in the times of war.  Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the official end of the World War I hostilities on November 11, 1918.  It is also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day and is celebrated in countries that are part of the Commonwealth, including Australia and New Zealand.  

Today is particularly meaningful to people who currently serve, or have served, in the military.  My dad spent six year in the British army fighting in World War 2 as a tank gunner … and saw action in North Africa, Italy and Burma .  I grew up in the UK listening to “war stories” … mostly lighthearted, but with some glimpses of the realities of war.   My first job was in the Royal Navy, and I served for seven years as an aircraft mechanic … Remembrance Day is an important day for me!

The use of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance comes from a poem called Flanders Fields written by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor serving in the military. Special church services are organized with the playing of “The Last Post,” as well there is two minutes of silence at 11a.m.  After the service, wreaths are laid at local war memorials.  

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.