11 November 2008


Soggy fields on a sombre day

lest we forget at Flickr.comIt's miserable, sloppy, rainy November day here in Vancouver. It often is on Remembrance Day, and that's appropriate. Soldiers die on all sorts of days—sunny, rainy, snowy, windy, or calm—but this weather fits the mood.

We used to know it as Armistice Day, to commemorate the end of World War I, which we used to know as the Great War. But the holiday has once more come to have greater meaning in recent years, as our soldiers die in distant wars again. It's no longer a remembrance of history alone—the veterans and their families are no longer exclusively old. Sure, I fight my own battle with cancer, and with death, but when I see the names and faces of Canadians killed in Afghanistan, and think of Afghans dying there too, I consider how young many of them are, just as their predecessors were overwhelmingly young.

Most are much younger than me, never having had a chance to age or get ill. Just gone early, from bullets or bombs, gas or grenades.

Today isn't a glorious day, but a sombre one. Our yards and cemeteries are puddled and muddy, like those battlefields so regularly were—and are. That helps me remember.

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Familiar with June Tabor's "No Man's Land / Flowers Of The Forest"?

Dave A.