history, Poetry, Quotes

A day of remembrance

Poppies – Photo © 2017 by Violet Nesdoly

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

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.

Memorial to the 158 Canadian soldiers who died in the Afghan Mission (2002 – 2011)
(Photo © 2020 by Violet Nesdoly.)

Perhaps due in large part to John McCrae’s beautiful poem, poppies have come to signify remembering the soldiers that have fallen in battle. A local cenotaph that we often walk past is a memorial to the Canadian soldiers that died in the Afghan Mission (2002 – 2011). It is located on the grounds of the Derek Doubleday Arboretum in Langley (very near the Langley airport). I took this photo of it in July 2020, when the poppies at its base were in bloom.

This tree trunk memorial signifies a life cut short. The names of the 158 soldiers that died in the Afghan Mission are engraved on a metal ribbon that winds up the tree. A total of 158 trees were also planted in the Arboretum in memory of those brave souls.

In 2017 an oak tree, a descendant from an oak at Vimy Ridge, was also planted at the site, gifted by John Aldag the local MP, to comemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle at Vimy Ridge.

I am forever grateful to those who gave their lives defending Canada and the freedoms we hold dear.

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