Armistice Day Centenary Reflections

November 11, 2018 marks the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I.  Known then as the “War To End All Wars”.  As the first truly modern war, the world saw carnage and death on a scale never before seen, and never to be seen again … until the next one.

As we reflect on this day, we remember the millions who died in the trenches, or the forest, or the desert; of disease, of famine, for hubris and, maybe, for a few kilometers of ground.  Soldiers and civilians endured devastation and deprivation on an unheard of scale.   And it didn’t end on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the enemy just changed as General Influenza came to town.

So much has changed in these hundred years.  But what hasn’t changed is that we are still all fragile human beings who yearn for peace in our lives.

I leave you with these words from Canadian soldier, John McCrae, who didn’t have a chance to celebrate the end of the War to End All Wars.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae, 1872 - 1918

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky, 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high! 
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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