Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

Sharon Wildwind

Remembrance Day is a big deal at our house. This year, it’s an even bigger deal.

You may already know that the Canadian actor, writer, and director, Paul Gross, has just released a movie about the battle of Passchendaele. http://www.passchendaelethemovie.com/

Critical response has been mixed, based on whether or not the critic liked the story line choices that Gross decided to feature in the movie. My husband decided he would see the movie in a theatre; I decided I’d wait until it’s on DVD and I can watch it, by myself, in small doses, preferably late one night. There are some memories I choose to honor in private.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of World War I, or as it’s more commonly known in Commonwealth countries, The Great War. Veterans Affairs Canada /Anciens Combattants Canada has organized a 1914 to 1918 Vigil to commemorate this. From sunset November 4th through to sunrise this morning, November 11th, the names of the 68,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who lost their lives in WWI were projected, one at a time, onto the National War Memorial in Ottawa, buildings in other regions of Canada and onto the side of Canada House in Trafalgar Square in London, England.

For more information on this project and other links to Great War historical documents, go to http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=feature/fww

The verse below will be recited at Remembrance Day services today in many Commonwealth countries. It is from a poem “For the Fallen,” by an English poet, Lawrence Binyon. Too old for military service in the Great War, Binyon volunteered for the Red Cross and, each year of the war, spent much of his annual leave from the British Museum working as a medical orderly in France.

“They shall grow not 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.”

Enough said.


Auntie Knickers said...

I want very much to see the film Passchendaele, but I may also have to wait for DVD as I live in a small town in the US. Still, we do have an indie movie theater so there is hope.
I love that in French veterans are "anciens combattants."

Julia Buckley said...

My 4th grader had to memorize "In Flanders Fields" by John McRae. It's very poignant listening to a poem about the war dead being recited by a ten-year-old.