Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lest we forget

     "In Flanders fields, the poppies grow", the opening words to Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McRae's World War I poem. Every school kid learns it at some point.

     Planting the flag at Iwo Jima. This photo is probably the most famous image of World War II.

     A Canadian soldier coming home. A picture from the current engagement in Afghanistan.

     As I was getting the post for Remembrance Day ready, I was looking at various images online and reading stories of conflicts past and present. The stories themselves are bad enough, the images are haunting.

One of the grave sites at Flanders

The destruction around Ypres

A cross in a mortar shell hole

Wounded being removed from the field

The living and the dead in the trenches

Photos courtesy of Rob Ruggenberg / The Heritage of the Great War
from here

    As I was sitting safe, warm and comfortable in front of my computer screen, these images..... My great grandfather lived these, he saw combat in WWI. I can't even imagine. How do you return from something like that? How does life ever return to normal?

     We tend to glorify war, heroic last stands, sweeping victories, standing the line. Our culture is filled with images, monuments and literature. Video games allow you to recreate famous battles, be a sniper, a fighter pilot. I don't think we ever forget the sacrifices these men and women made for us. For our freedom, our safety.

     I do think we sometimes forget what it costs them. Here is the list of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan to date. Pages of 158 faces, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers. Their loss will affect hundreds more lives.

    For the current veterans returning home, the suicide rate is twice the average. A sobering fact. We ask a lot of our armed forces. When the dust settles, they are left trying to re adjust, reconciling doing what was asked of them.

     Freedom comes with a heavy price some times. We always remember those who paid the with ultimate price, their lives. Let's not forget those whose lives were at the least, interrupted, at worst, shattered. While we celebrate an end to a conflict, for some the war is never over.

     Be kind to a veteran on Friday and every other day for that matter. They deserve it.

     Link up over at RoryBore's Coffee Chat to share your thoughts or how you celebrate / observe Remembrance Day. 



  1. wonderful....everything, the images, the words, the emotions...just wonderful!
    Thanks for joing the chat!

  2. You know I love chatting along with you.

    It's weird knowing about something but having no real tie to it or experience. I knew Grandpa Fisher enlisted but he never saw combat. Great Grandpa Craig did, in some tough spots too. A cousin put his war story together and it's a pretty compelling read. Made me think.


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".