Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remembering - Those Left Behind

Today, and last Sunday, we remembered the soldiers who have fallen in war.  We listened to O Canada, Reveille, the Piper's Lament, and the Last Post.  In many communities I'm sure, we listened to John McCrae's famous poem, In Flander's Fields, written 100 years ago this year.  The tears ran down our cheeks as we thought of those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

But Remembrance Day is about more than the fallen, it is about all those who have served.  We honour the veterans who remain with us and the serving soldiers.  We heard today from a veteran who had served in Afghanistan, and got a small sense of the horrors of actually being there.  Many have returned home safely - but with injuries, both mental and physical, that will scar them and their families forever.

At Cenotaphs like this one in Flesherton, we focus on those who have served, but do we remember those left behind?  The families who stay at home, not seeing their loved ones for months at a time, carrying on the daily work of living with only one parent?  Even worse the families of the fallen, who pay the price for the rest of their lives.  For every fallen soldier, there are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, and children whose lives are made poorer, who will never forget, and for whom Remembrance Day is especially painful.

It was these individual poppies placed on the memorial in Flesherton that drew my eye.  How many people in the crowd had a personal reason for being there?  How many personally grieved for a loss in their own family?  For people who have lost a loved one for any reason, Remembrance Day brings the memories and the grief back.  Try attending a memorial service with your heart in your throat and the tears overwhelming your eyes, and you may sense a bit of the pain of the ones that the fallen leave behind.

And of course my own mind was drawn to our son William, who was serving in a different way when he died, helping to protect northern communities from the threat of forest fire.  Firefighters, police and other first responders also serve, and also sadly sometimes give their lives.  Although they are recognized in national memorials, those dates are not well known - they should be.  Here in our municipality, police, firefighters and first responders are included among the military and veterans who participate in Remembrance Day.  Let us never forget any of those who serve our country and its communities.


Another remarkably beautiful November day here, so local ceremonies were held under sunny skies and warm(ish) temperatures.  David Gascoigne commented on my post of two days ago about renewable energy that  I had left out energy conservation and simply using less.  He's right of course.  Perhaps the best way consumers can contribute to reducing greenhouse gases is to insulate their home, buy energy-efficient appliances, drive less, and so on.  I think that's an entirely new topic!

In Canada, the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation honours fallen firefighters at the national memorial in Ottawa in mid-September.  The Canadian Peace Officers' Memorial Association honours fallen police and peace officers at the national memorial on the last Sunday of September.  I have been unable to find anything similar for first responders.


  1. Lovely photos! It's good to remember all our veterans - both past and present.

  2. Oh gosh, I am so sorry about your son. My husband's nephew is a firefighter in northern communities, and everywhere in the world where he is needed.

  3. I have lost two sons and although one died in infancy, my son Chris died while serving in the Army. Although he died of a heart attack, he was a Veteran and loved the Army and wanted to stay in it for his whole life. Unfortunately, he did. I know the pain of loss, and I remember back when mine was a fresh as yours is. I couldn't help but cry over just about anything. Remembrance Day is huge to all of us who have lost loved ones. My heart goes out to you.

  4. I'm all about taking care of the planet. I saw a post from my nephew on FB the other day...he said to take your own mug to the coffee shop to stop the use of paper and styrofoam.

  5. I photographed the fire fighter's monument yesterday, since it's right across from the War Memorial, and I did bring up your son with a couple of people as well.

    There's an exhibit going on at the museum at present about women in the two wars, particularly in terms of how they were dealing with the loss of sons or husbands.

  6. What a beautiful remembrance memorial you visited the Poppies and the wreaths are so pretty. I am certain is was a sad day for you and your wife.

  7. My condolences. A lovely tribute.
    We saw some fine looking men and women in uniform in Perth on Wednesday!

  8. This is a very meaningful post. Thank you for sharing. We attended the ceremony at the cenotaph near us with a large turnout again this year.

  9. Thank you for honoring so many people in this post, showing how important awareness and honoring is.
    I am so sorry to hear about your son.

  10. Very beautiful and touching post. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I try not to worry overly much about my own boy - a military police officer in Edmonton. Your post expresses a lot of tenderness and pride. Hugs to you.

  11. "Let us never forget any of those who serve our country and its communities."