Halloween, in the original form, has passed along with All Saints Day where depending on your take, it's about remembering those who have died, some being our ancestors. In honouring them, we honour ourselves. They are our roots, our lineage. We may know few, but many we don't. Unaware of their joys, sufferings, illnesses, dreams and wondering, we know without them, we would not be here. And so we try to remember and to speak their names, or collective names.
Last spring, I had the good fortune to visit the South of France and sat in awe looking at the fields of wild poppies. It brought me in thought to the massive losses during war and the poem 'In Flanders Fields' I had memorized as a child. Bittersweet and heartbreaking. No imagination replaces experience of war and the deep desire for freedom.
While we sit in privilege and freedom here in Canada, we, too, have losses and living veterans who may be our relatives but are who also our collective roots, deserve our recognition and gratitude for their sacrifices. And so I leave you with the poem by Canadian Dr. John McCrae (1872-1918) and ask you to scroll down to my repost of how great was the sacrifice of 10 million war animals.
In Flanders Fields
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
Scare 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.
May you thoughtfully enjoy your freedom on November 11th.
When we think of Remembrance Day, it is a time when we go deep inside ourselves with heartfelt, somber thoughts and prayers for the millions of humans who were injured and those who paid the ultimate price in war. It is a special day in Canada . . . a day which can evoke tears from the perceived toughest person. It is a day which can unite people both young and old in shared grief. It is a day for honouring those who gave us freedom and the country that we live in today.
But have you ever given a thought to those animals who were maimed or killed in war, who didn't have a choice? There were millions, yes, millions of horses, mules, dogs, pigeons, and elephants. They weren't pets, but they had heart; they went loyally with soldiers into unbelievable danger and most often, died in unimaginable conditions.
Here are some sad facts taken from the Canadian Animals in War Dedication Project:
I was happy and proud to learn that in 2012, in Confederation Park, Ottawa, the Animals in War Dedication was unveiled to recognize their incredible loyalty and sacrifice. Finally, animals of war are having their stories told. As a Canadian who is passionate about animals and our country, I felt compelled to bring this dedication to light.
So on this November 11th and every Remembrance Day, I invite you to honour and remember them in your own way . . . perhaps during your minute of silence at the eleventh hour.
To learn more about our own Canadian animals in war stories, please take some time to explore this website and remember. http://aiwdedication.ca/
Reana Selody Joubert
Pondering, mulling, musing with pen in hand about animals or people, sometimes family or sometimes wild. Oh, and news & events, too.
We acknowledge the First Nations of Musqueam, Tsawwassen, Tsleil-watuth, Qayqayt, Kwikwetlem, Katzie, and Kwantlen whose unceded land we
work, play, and reside. Thank you, Honoured Ones.
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