Lest We Forget

Today Is Remembrance Day in Canada and, growing up in South Africa, this was a day I never had experience of until we moved Toronto. During my first year in in the city, I never understood why people wore red flowers on the lapels of their coats. It was only after a few years that I came to understand. The moment of understanding was definitely the case of children teaching the adult: my children were able to explain to me why they came home bringing the imitations of the red flowers with them as they had been taught the reasons at school.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
In Remembrance. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I believe it is a good thing that we remember the soldiers who lost their lives in the two Great Wars – and to remember those who continue to fight for the freedoms of their country. I am not too sure that young children understand the reason for the day of Remembrance but hopefully they will as the years pass. I do wonder, however, whether this day does encourage the powers that be to think twice before they make decisions that send young men and women out into the war zone.

Do you wear a poppy for Remembrance Day?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

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30 thoughts on “Lest We Forget

  1. I was a Brownie and Girl Scout in the late 1940’s early ’50’s. On Veterans Day we would meet early and pick up our paper poppies and money can. Then walk around the streets of the small town selling poppies. It was great fun to see who could first get to a pedestrian who was not sporting a poppy. We raced home at noon and then were back to work in the afternoon. The day was fun and enjoyable but we never forgot the reason for the poppies.

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    1. What a wonderful way to get the children involved. I have noticed that here cadets sell the flowers. When we first arrived I noticed many veterans selling them but I no longer see them holding the boxes.

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  2. Here in The States today is Veteran’s Day and, as far as I know, we don’t wear a poppy. I’ve been seeing images in the news of it being done in Commonwealth nations and I think it to be beautiful.

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  3. You must have grown up in an extremely protected environment in South Africa. I am at least 30 years older than you are and I remember as a kid going to parades and ceremonies and when in the army doing parade duty on Remembrance Day. Somewhere you missed the boat and Canada is not all heaven.

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    1. When I was growing up in Johannesburg parades were a thing of the past. And never did I see people walking about with poppies on their lapels in the suburbs or even in the city. Even as an adult working in the city, it was a sighting never saw.

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  4. Great question Colline : “I do wonder, however, whether this day does encourage the powers that be to think twice before they make decisions that send young men and women out into the war zone.” I wonder as that as well hon and hope they do. 🙂

    Such beautiful red flowers and you’ve captured them so well. Stunning shot and post hon. 😀 ♥

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  5. Greetings Colline, I doubt the ‘powers that be’ care ‘why’ they send our children to war, as long as there is money to be made in the process. I am very bitter toward our Government right now, but will forever remain grateful to our men and women in uniform who give/have given so much for our Nation. I never realized that the significance of the poppy until I read your post, even though the Vets always give you a little red flower when you donate to their causes. I thought it was a simple ‘thank you’ gesture. See… learn something every day. 🙂

    Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all who have served, and their families, too!

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    1. I have learned even more now that I am teaching at a Canadian school. The one tidbit I learned today was that this day began a year after the First World War in remembrance that the Great War stopped on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour (which is why all schools have a minute of silence at 11am).

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  6. Now that I no longer work, there’s little opportunity to get and wear a poppy, Colline. If I do have the opportunity, though, I will wear one. It’s the very least one can do for those who gave so much.

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  7. When I lived in England, we always wore a poppy for Remembrance Sunday. I think it would be great if this day was acknowledged worldwide. It’s really so sad that there are still mostly young men and women who die whilst serving their countries in the armed forces. World peace seems to be very elusive.

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  8. As an Air Force veteran, who had uncles who served in world war two, I can understand having a day set aside remembering the sacrifice of so many from North America, Those who served, their families who served with them, and all who contributed to overcoming the evil that was trying to change our world. It is a blessing to love others in our countries enough to put ourselves in harms way for the greater good. May all including they who still serve be blessed and honored for their selfless love and sacrifice. Thanks for sharing Colline…so very meaningful! Hugs and blessings my sister!

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    1. So often we forget about these men and women who protect our country and the right of our freedom. It does good to set aside a day to think about them and the sacrifices that they are making.

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  9. As Europe marked Armistice day on Tuesday, I couldn’t help but take note of Africa’s contribution to the two World Wars. Africa and Africans were somehow not a part of those wars consequences and legacies yet many in the Kings African Rifles were maimed or killed in Burma, Abbysinia, Tanganyika to mention just a few. They were fighting an absurd war given that they were colonised fighting to keep others from being colonised. There were taxes and other privations that Africans as their colonial masters fought brutal wars.
    Africans recruited to the Kings African Rifles numbered over 120,000. Kenyan and Tanzanian beef fed thousands of allied soldiers stationed in the middle east.
    My late Grandfather was a Kings African Rifles veteran and was involved in the Burma Campaign. I wonder what were his experiences in Burma. I regret I was too young to talk to him about those experiences.
    The courage of these men should be acknowledged and applauded as well.

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  10. 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.

    The first stanza of a poem written by Canadian Lt.-Col. John McCrae on May 3, 1915 after the 2nd battle of Ypres during which a close friend had been killed.
    The horrible irony was that the first world war was called “the war to end all wars.”

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  11. A great tribute to Rememberance day Colline.
    Most countrys of the western world and the Commonwealth, stand united in remembering their fallen Hero’s, sadly each year, we are building more monuments, and have more fallen to remember.
    War is the eternal curse of mankind.
    Ian

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