Poppies. Lest We Forget.

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Poppy Field Sunrise

PoppiesPoppy Boxes are filled with literally hundreds , upon thousands, and thousands,  of stories of service to King & Country, to Queen & Country, and to Canada.  Poppies , as a flower are this excruciatingly, hauntingly,  beautiful  creation.  In the mind’s eye, when gazing upon a field of poppies,  a sombre, respectful, reverential mindfulness takes over, inviting itself in.  To give pause. To reflect on stories  about war, about loss and about triumph.  Along our individual journey’s, we have, no doubt,  come to understand that war and peace are fragile. We know for certain that war is possible. Peace, is a concept which seems lost today. The world is plagued by war in 2015. I thank the Lord each and every day that I live in Canada.

Stories of wartime, when told through the lens of a man or woman who served in the armed forces, and saw combat, are always  remarkable time capsules. Stories of bravery, fear, heartbreak, relief for  lives spared, heroism and camaraderie,  are all found within the nuggets. The Canadian War Museum is a database and archive filled with incredible stories.  In the telling of the stories, it is incumbent upon each of us, who enjoy the relative calm of life in Canada, to listen. To hear. To share. To remember. Lest we Forget.

RCL Poppy BoxSupporting our local Legion and annual Poppy Campaigns, is one way that we can concretely demonstrate support for military veterans, both during wartime and peacetime. The remembrance poppy (a Papaver rhoeas) has been used since 1921 to commemorate soldiers who have died in war. Inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields”, by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae and embraced by Moina Michael, they were first adopted by the American Legion to commemorate American soldiers killed in World War 1 (1914–1918). They were then adopted by military veterans’ groups in parts of the former British Empire: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Today, they are most common in the UK and Canada, and are used to commemorate servicemen and women killed in all conflicts since 1914.

Moina MichaelsMoina Michael. (August 15, 1869-May 10, 1944) was an American professor and humanitarian who conceived the idea of using poppies as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in World War I.

Born in Good Hope, Georgia, Michael was educated at Lucy Cobb Institute and Georgia State Teachers College, both located in Athens, Georgia, and Columbia University in New York City. She was a professor at the University of Georgia when the U.S. entered World War I. She took a leave of absence from her work and volunteered to assist in the New York-based training headquarters for overseas YWCA workers.

Moina Michaels PostcardMoina Michaels StampInspired by the Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae’s  poem  In Flanders Fields, she published a poem in response called We Shall Keep the Faith. In tribute to the opening lines of McCrae’s poem — “In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses row on row,” Moina Michael vowed to always wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in the war.

We Shall Keep the Faith by Moina Michael. written  November 1918.
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Remembrance Day Ceremony. Essar Centre, Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The doors to The Essar Centre are open to the public at 10:00am. The Ceremony will begin at 11:00am. The public is asked to be seated by 10:45am

A Veterans and Military Parade beginning at 10:00 a.m. will start a march down Bay St. to Elgin ,and then to the Cenotaph (Queen St.) where there will be a short service.  The Parade will  then continue a march into the Essar Centre.

Visit The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 (Sault Ste. Marie) http://www.branch25rcl.org/

visit The Canadian War Museum archives at http://www.warmuseum.ca/home/