Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest we forget.

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I found an interesting article that I think is worth reading regarding Canadian Remembrance day. Read here. Here are some bits:

I didn't get a poppy this year.

I didn't get one last year, either. In fact, this is my fourth straight year without a poppy. It's one of those little things that you take for granted until you leave home, like a Louisiana native who can't find good crawfish in Chicago, or an expatriate German who misses the sausages from home. But this isn't about food. It's about my poppy.

Unless you are Canadian, or have visited Canada in early November, you have no idea what I'm talking about.


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So why poppies? Why not roses, or tulips, or daisies?

Poppies have a tendency to flourish in lime-rich soils. During the Napoleonic wars and World War I, heavy bombardment caused the destruction of many limestone buildings, creating the ideal conditions for widespread poppy growth on the killing fields. This spectacle caught the attention of Brigade Surgeon John McCrae, who served with the Canadian Field Artillery in Ypres, Belgium. Dr. McCrae spent 17 days at Ypres, tending to wounded and burying the dead during one of the bloodiest battles of World War I. His poem, originally titled We Shall Not Sleep, was published in 1915 and had an immediate impact on those who had lost loved ones.


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Canada suffered tremendously in World War I. One Canadian out of a hundred died in the war, on a battlefield far from Canada's shores. Picture a modern-day war – if you dare – where 3 million American soldiers die in combat, and you start to understand the magnitude of the sacrifice.

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