Lest We Forget

I don’t think there’s a Canadian kid out there who doesn’t know the poem of “Flanders Fields.” We learned it from grade two, some of us, from grade one…
In Flanders Field, the poppies grow, Between the crosses, row on row…
From the first line, the poem, what it represented, broke my heart. Flowers growing amidst the dead, nature’s tribute to brave men (and women, now) who died to protect their countries.
That mark our place; and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly, Scare heard amid the guns below…
And even though they died, the battles continue. They’ll never grow old, they’ll never see grandchildren, and still we fight, we fight to the cost of other lives, we fight and forget to listen to the birds, we fight and lose everything? Gain everything? What is the price of war? What are the spoils and do the victors ever care?
We are the dead, Short days ago, We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow….
I’m not someone who never believes in war. I think even reasonable people sometimes have to pick up weaponry. Sometimes, when words fail, a pop on the nose says more than a speech. What hurts me is the finality of war. The death, the suffering. I often wish we could use less lethal on the everyday soldier, save the really bad stuff for those who started the war, the Hitlers, the Osamas.
Loved, and were love, and now we lie in Flanders fields.
Do they know? Do the dead look down and see that they were loved not just by those who knew them, but by those who have survived and thrived by their sacrifice? Even as I write this, I’m crying because I know my life wouldn’t be what it is except for those sacrifices made. They died so I could live, and I believe I owe them to honor my life, to try my best, to reach high, or else, what did they give their lives for?
Take up our quarrel with the foe; To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high.
We each have our legacy to fulfill, we each have the torch to carry. I’m not a fighter. Under the right circumstances, I could bop someone, but kill them? I can’t even do that with spiders. So, how do I carry this torch? To me, the best way to honor these men and women is to care for those they left behind, and to be part of the mass that educates the young, to instill in them the capacity to reason and think, so that one day–one bright, shining day–we won’t ever have to go to war because we will understand our nature, and embrace it, and by doing so, understand other people’s nature and embrace it. And there will be no more tyrants because they won’t have anyone to manipulate. Perhaps there will be no more tyrants because when (s)he was small, someone saw their distress, stepped in, saved them, and in saving them, saves us all.
If ye break faith with us who die, We shall no sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.
Sleep well, heroes, rest easy. We who live carry the torch.

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