Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans' Day 2011

When I was young, I vividly remember my mother making a point to buy a poppy for each of us to wear on our clothing for “Reembrance Day,” as she still called November 11. We know it as Veterans’ Day, but she was born November 30, 1918, just nineteen days after the guns fell silent to end the War to End all Wars, and that is what the day was called when she was a child. She always reminded me of 11-11-11 because the Armistice took effect on November 11 at 11 am.

Today is another 11-11-11. And, unhappily, many wars have followed.

Today, beginning at 9 am at both Germanna Community College campuses, students, faculty, staff and community members will read from the roll of those who have died in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You are welcome to participate:

Today we also pause to thank our veterans and remember those not here to be thanked. It is the least we can do.

We can also:

- hire a veteran
- retrain a veteran
- assist a veteran in trouble
- pray for those who are serving and have served
or just feel a deep gratitude in our hearts for those who have answered the call and stood their ground so we can live without having to defend ourselves.

The poppies that we wore memorialized the poppy fields in Flanders where many Americans lie instead of having come home. Around the cemetery, many battles were fought in the Ypres region. Heavy fighting over the years of the war cost about a million casualties. The battles were memorialized in a famous poem by a veteran of that war:

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

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.

Veterans Department web site:

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