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, May 1915
There is something about living in Ottawa that makes Remembrance day that much more meaningful every November. It’s common to see various members of the Canadian forces walking around in uniform on a daily basis and I live only a few blocks away from the National War Memorial where the tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded and where the Corporal Nathan Corillo was so tragically shot down in the events of the October 2014 shootings on Parliament Hill. Today, although I couldn’t attend the morning events downtown due to classes, I paid the memorial a visit in the afternoon to show my respect for Canada’s fallen soldiers.
The morning crowd had thinned out but there was still a feeling of mourning and sadness around the memorial. The crowd was very quiet and I felt a little overwhelmed thinking about all the reasons that November 11 is celebrated in the first place, lost mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren who sacrificed their lives for the wellbeing of others. It was touching to see how the city came together to remember. I was impressed seeing all the wreaths at the base of the cenotaph, one from every embassy and commission in the city as well as various other organisations from the Canadian Red Cross to the Canadian Olympic Team. There were even a few (what I assume to be) children’s drawings, poems and letters sprinkled in the wreaths as well. I spent a moment admiring the scene in silence before adding my poppy to the top of the Unknown Soldier’s tomb as others had before me.
I asked my daughter to go to the National War Memorial Cenotaph to honour the men and women who serve in our military through the years. Here are pictures from today’s Remembrance Day Ceremonies.