Tomorrow is November 11. It's Remembrance Day here in Canada, the UK and the other Commonwealth nations. It's Veteran's Day in the US. The image above is of the poppy Canadians proudly wear pinned to their garments in remembrance of the sacrifices made by soldiers who fought in past wars, and as a tribute to the troops currently serving in Afghanistan and other places around the world.
Six years ago, I was in London on Remembrance Day. I traversed the poppy "fields" planted in front of Westminster Abbey, and witnessed the laying of the memorial wreaths around the Cenotaph on Whitehall Street on the Sunday following Remembrance Day. After that ceremony, I found myself in a local pub eating fish & chips with a side of mushy peas, and toasting the Queen. The place was full of vets, in uniform, getting drunk and singing what had to be the filthiest songs I'd ever heard in my life. I'm sure those war ditties were what got them through the tough times, and as I downed the shot of whisky I was given, I silently toasted those men, along with my father-in-law, an ex-US Marine, and my dad, a Holocaust survivor. I cannot remember a day when I laughed and cried as much as I did on that one. I've thought of that day often over the past six years, and as I proudly wear my poppy, I am proud to share those memories here with my loyal readers.
In addition to freedom of speech, we must also remember the freedom provided by those who serve in the military branches of our two proud countries, and the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our rights in these democratic societies. We must always remember. Lest we forget...