I’ve just returned from my annual visit to South Memorial Park, at 41st and Prince Albert St., where they have a Remembrance Day ceremony. It was pretty much the same as last year, so I’ll repeat what I said then:
I was pleased by the number of people who showed. There were many young people, and an ever dwindling number of veterans. The bagpipes sang, the flags cracked in the wind, and old men stood proud.
I thought, today, as I frequently do, about my great uncle Ross, who died in World War II. He was a radio operator on a Lancaster bomber in the Royal Canadian Air Force. His plane was shot down over the Frissian Islands while on a bombing run. Though I never knew him, I’ve always admired the courage he must have had to go to war. That’s his grave, where he rests among three or four hundred Commonwealth soldiers in Kiel, Germany.
Lest we forget, here’s a poem of remembrance:
For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.