Things, stuff, and other items of interest

November 11, 2010

We remember.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
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.

- Written May 3rd, 1915 by:
Born: Nov. 30 1872, Died: Jan. 28 1918.

Today's not a day for my stories or rants, so I'll keep this brief. 

Thank you to those who didn't make it back from places you probably never wanted to be. 
Thank you to those who did make it back, and had to find a way to live with the memories. 
Thank you to those who stayed at home, worrying, wondering, and waiting long hours. 
Thank you to those who serve today, like so many who have served before you. 

To those in the Canadian Foces, past and present: You make me fiercely proud. Honour, duty, valour, these are just words. It's your actions that speak volumes, that give those words meaning and give the rest of us hope. 

We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those [...] Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument.
- Heather Robertson,
A Terrible Beauty, The Art of Canada at War, Toronto, Lorimer, 1977
We remember:

  • The Boer War - 1899 to 1902 - 7,368 Canadians served. 277 of them died.  252 were wounded.
  • World War I - 1914 to 1918 - 619,636 Canadians served. 66,655 of them died. 172,950 were wounded.
  • World War II - 1939 to 1945 - 1,100,000 Canadians served. 42,042 of them died. 55,000 were wounded.
  • The Korean War - 1951 to 1953 - 26,791 Canadians served. 516 of them died. 1,042 were wounded.
  • The Gulf War - 1990 to 1991 - More than 4,000 Canadians served. None died. 
  • The Afghanistan War - 2001 to present day - 152 Canadian lives lost. 1,442 have been wounded as of December of 2009.
  • Peace Keeping missions:
    • Egypt
    • Congo
    • Indonesia
    • Cyprus
    • Israel
    • Syria
    • Lebanon
    • Namibia
    • Western Sahara
    • Cambodia
    • Somalia
    • Croatia
    • Haiti
    • Republic of Macedonia
    • Bosnia
    • Central African Republic
    • East Timor
    • Kosovo
    • Sierra Leone
    • Ethiopia
    • Eritrea
    • Sudan
    • Darfur
And other locales around the world.

I would encourage everyone to take a look at the work of Photo Journalist Pete Fisher. Mr. Fisher has made a magnificent website with which he documents his pictures of the repatriations of Canadian Forces members, and their journey along the Highway of Heroes. Mr Fisher has recently started a petition to have the Royal Canadian Mint commemorate these veterans and the highway in form of a coin. Please add your name to the petition, if you feel it's a worthy cause. You'll find my name on there at position #391.


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori

- Written in October of 1917,
Born: Mar. 18 1893, Died: Nov. 4 1918

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