Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Flanders Fields - Do The Dead Sleep Peacefully Among the Poppies?

Poppy Every November the 11th - we remember our fallen soldiers for their greatest gift to us - they gave us their lives so we could continue living in a land of freedom where we exercise our rights and freedoms without fear.

Almost a century ago, May 16, 19l5, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD of the Canadian Army was attending as physician to the soldiers offering up their lives at Ypres. He was deeply moved by a soldier he was trying to help that died and was motivated to write the poem "In Flanders Fields". It has become a cornerstone of our remembrance day services and I am deeply affected every time I hear or sing these haunting words. And just anticipating the trumpeter's lips pursing to blow Taps grips me with a grief that I've rarely felt.

We continue to wear the red poppy each November as a symbol of our appreciation and remembrance for those brave men and women who have fought in all wars since the first great one of 1914-1918. But are we truly honouring them by how we live the gift they have given us?  Have we grown a bit too cavalier with "our freedoms"?  Have we perhaps become a little arrogant about "our rights"?  Has a fog grown over the lens of "our responsibilities"?

We Have Forgotten When 
- we continue to engage in war.
- our current soldiers suffer without the adequate help they  need.
- some solders' mothers, wives and children still live in poverty.
- the youth of the poor do the fighting while the privileged youth are protected.
- the old guard disregards our youth as they continue to play their games of war.
- we don't take 2 minutes each Remembrance Day to wear a poppy and truly remember and keep thankful.

We Remember When 
- we humbly do simple acts of kindness.
- we honour our returning veterans with everything they, and their families, need to become whole again.
- we look for ways to share with, understand and accept our neighbors.
- we seek to forgive and try to love our enemies working with them for the good of all.
- we honour and care for our planet and animals, and every person is fed, housed and educated.
- we meaningfully vow and practice "Never Again" so the fallen can truly sleep while "Poppies Grow in Flanders Fields".

As they vowed to us and gave so much, let us vow to each other to keep the peace, embrace our responsibilities with the enthusiasm we give our rights and Remember Not to Forget.

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