Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Poppies For A Soldier

Today in many countries across the world we stop to remember veterans and those who gave their lives in service to their country. The tradition, whether it is Remembrance Day, Veteran's Day, or Armistice Day, dates back to the end of the First World War, which came to a conclusion on this date in 1918, but has also come to include wars since then, particularly the Second World War.

The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier is at the base of the War Memorial. The Canadian soldier interred here fought and died at the battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War. This shot from 2013 shows the tradition that has taken shape since this tomb was added to the Memorial: the placing of poppies on the grave. This year Princess Anne is present and will be taking part in the ceremony.

This year is particularly poignant for Canadians after the events in October. The deaths of two soldiers, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Quebec and Corporal Nathan Cirillo right here at the War Memorial, at the hands of two separate madmen within days of each other, are still with us. I was here several times while people were placing flowers and other items of condolences around the Memorial. On the Saturday after the shooting, out of the midst of the crowd came a wedding party. The bride and groom placed a wreath among the collection of flowers. On the most important day of their lives, they had the thoughtfulness to pay tribute in this place. I found that very moving.

I leave you with two selections of music for the occasion, After The War by Sarah Slean and The Warrior's Lament by Sierra Noble.


  1. What a very moving post today.

    cheers, parsnip

  2. A fitting tribute and very touching the bride left a wreath there.

  3. Poignant and moving, William. A great post. I had not heard that song before - it's beautiful. It must have been amazing to be at that ceremony at Vimy. The memorial is visible for miles, like a huge white beckoning finger on top of the ridge. The statue representing Canada weeping for her lost youth defies anyone to keep dry eyes. The entire park is an impressive place and a tribute to all of the men that died there and in other places all over the world. One day, the fighting will stop.

  4. You have created a fitting memorial yourself.

  5. In america,I think, these events are celebrated more than in europa. This music is poignant and penetrating.

  6. Agree with Madrid, and you have made a proper memorial.

  7. That is interesting what Bibi and Madrid say. I have a British background, and Australia pauses on Remembrance Day. Now you have me wondering why this difference between Europe and other nations. Europe was where the wars had their greaytest impact. I wonder if that is the reason.

  8. Those are beautiful poppies.
    It is very moving that the couple paid tribute in the memorial on their wedding day.

  9. A great tribute! We have lost the tradition of red poppies, sadly. Have you seen newscasts of the ceramic poppies at the Tower of London? Over 800,000 of them...imagine!

  10. Wonderful tribute. The image of the red poppies is very powerful.

  11. @Parsnip: it felt appropriate.

    @Bill: it was astonishing to see, but I'm glad I did.

    @Mike: Vimy is one of these places I have to see for myself someday.

    @Stuart: thanks!

    @Tomas: with both selections, there's more poignancy than anything else.

    @Bibi: thank you.

    @Julie: for us it is very much an act of commemoration.

    @Ciel: that effect will be going around.

    @Luis: thanks.

    @Tamago: I found it so touching.

    @Norma: thank you.

    @Kate: yes, I've seen that in a number of places online. Quite a tribute.

    @Jackie: thank you.

    @Sharon: I certainly think so.

  12. This is a beautiful post, well done, sir.

  13. you did a wonderful job with this post...i love that the wedding couple stopped by to pay their respects...

  14. My Dad always brought poppies home for us to wear. "In Flanders Field"...

  15. Nice posting. I know it is a BIG day in the UK.

  16. One of the many things I love about our country is how very united we are at times like this. There isn't a city, town, school or workplace that doesn't feel the emotions of this day and honour our lost with two minutes of silence.

  17. This is a perfect post for today.

  18. Both very moving pieces William, so sad that we have these occasions to remember in the first place, even more so when you think of what's happening around the world right now.

  19. This is a great post for the occasion, William. Your text and photo, combined with the well chosen music, are just as much a great gesture as the flowers from bride and groom.

  20. Wonderful tribute to the memories of our fallen. Thank you!

  21. Touching and wonderful post. We have no special marking on this day in Norway

  22. A wonderful post for today William. I remember seeing poppies being sold everywhere when I was a kid, but not so much anymore. I wish that tradition would come back again here.

  23. Those poppies are a nice tradition.

  24. Thanks for sharing a memorial at the tomb of the unknown soldier. for those of us who seldom get there.

  25. Beautiful post!
    I can imagine how emotional this years ceremony will be with the tragic loss fresh on everyone's mind. It is a very sad reminder to us all that the role our Veteran's play is an extremely important one that we should never take for granted.

  26. @Jennifer: thank you.

    @Tex: thanks!

    @Tanya: it was uplifting to see.

    @Birdman: there were a lot of poppies today.

    @Gunn: and a huge day for us as well

    @VP: thank you.

    @Hilary: it really does that here.

    @Judy: thanks!

    @Grace: indeed.

    @Jan: the music was quite last minute for me, but I decided to run with both.

    @MB: you're welcome!

    @Spiderdama: it isn't quite a global thing, but I know Norway has days that are quite unique to that country.

    @Lois: it's very much in force here.

    @RedPat: thanks!

    @Marleen: they are.

    @Red: it makes sense for me being here to share it with others across the land.

    @Anita: it was quite emotional, and quite a beautiful day.

  27. A grand tribute. There were no poppy sellers at the stores this year. I think the organization that sold them has disbanded. Sad.

  28. I am very touched by this post William, a wonderful tribute.

  29. Very nice tribute. Recent history has made this a particularly poignant time for our Canadian neighbors.

  30. @Revrunner: thanks.

    @Mari: the Legion here organizes poppy sales here... I wonder if there's something similar in America.

    @Denise: thank you.

    @Randy: thanks.

    @Kay: it certainly has.

  31. An excellent post, William. Your tale about the couple who stopped at the memorial on their wedding day says whole books about the character of those two people. I listened to both videos. Both lovely.

  32. i know plenty of Veterans. i guess what is shocking to me ... & what i find silly of myself is how to remember what holidays every one does celebrate & only us Americans. i just can not keep it correct in my mine. i use to keep a calendar full of birthdays, anniversaries, deaths of loved ones - to remember how long they had been gone & so on, holidays - but then sort of got out of the habit ... there is so much to remember. my father, my father-in-law are all Veterans. my Dad is the only Veterans within our most close family ... so that is a big deal. Dad always says don't make my funeral a big deal ... i say Dad i beg your pardon, but you fault for this country, you put your life on the line, you may not have been on the front line, but you worked & served for this great nation ... you deserve your salute & honor of it all. without all the good Men & Women who do & did serve where would we be??! seriously??! ( :

  33. So sweet about the wedding party!

  34. Beautiful. I love the tradition of the poppies.

  35. It is a touching tribute. Wonderful post. Appreciate the work you put into presenting it. Thank you!

  36. I didn't know the tradition of poppies. That's a nice one.

  37. It was an especially moving event this year.

  38. This was by far the best post on this topic. I love that you included everyone, really well done. Thanks for doing that.

  39. @Jack: thank you.

    @Beth: quite true.

    @Linda: I thought so.

    @Halcyon: so do I.

    @Lauren: you're welcome.

    @Cheryl: definitely.

    @TDP: it is quite a tradition.

    @EG: yes, it is each year.

    @Whisk: you're welcome.