Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The 11th Hour

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the Armistice that ended World War I was signed.

Veterans Day is a Federal holiday in the United States and is observed in many countries including Australia. It is not a public holiday in Australia, but I remember having a moment of silence at 11am on November 11th in school and reading the poem "Flanders Fields". We do however celebrate ANZAC Day on April 25th, in honor of our militay Veterans. We also wear red poppies as a symbol of this event.

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.

The poppies referred to in the poem grew in profusion in Flanders in the disturbed earth of the battlefields and cemeteries where war casualties were buried and thus became a symbol of Veterans Day/Remembrance Day. The poem is often part of Veterans Day/Remembrance Day solemnities in Allied countries which contributed troops to World War I, particularly in countries of the British Empire that did so. (Wikipedia).

There is a high probability that if you are reading this blog, you know a Veteran. Zev is a Veteran, as am I, my brother Mario, and our cousins Jessie and Pat. Zev and I once had the honor of living next door to a World War II Veteran, Al Johnson.
Happy Veterans Day.

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