Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11 • 11

While honoring our Veterans here in the States, let's not forget that much of the rest of the world observes this day, too.

The 20th Century was so full of war and conflict that we sometimes forget the world-shattering events of 1914-1918. Those events literally shaped the rest of the century, and we're still seeing their effects to-day.

For those of us under the age of about 50 or so, the idea of a truly national struggle, in which everyone is expected to and does sacrifice in order to aid their country is almost alien. We in the U.S. have been attacked, on occasion, but in terms of sheer scale, an event like Pearl Harbor or 9/11 pales in comparison to the massive destruction Europe saw during the World Wars.

We civilians in the U.S. and Canada have been lucky, partly through an accident of geography, but also in large measure due to the heroism and sacrifice of the members of our armed forces.

It is they and their families who've had to suffer the ultimate loss. And it is to them we owe our undying gratitude.

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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.

- Lt-Col John McCrae, C.E.F.

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