I too was surprised at the turnout even at the East York cenotaph (I didn't even notice there was one till last week). I thought it was just me but it seems this year's remembrance day WAS a bigger deal than usual. Wars, economy, elections and a 90th anniversary of the end of WWI brings out the crowds. There was a formation of Harbords that flew past at 11am. Reminded me of one of Dad's last flights, as a passenger in a Harvard. All the WWII stuff reminds me of Dad, particularly now as I see Simon at the age Dad was when he was growing up with that war. He learned about the planes, and soldiers and little kids rhymes about it.
"WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK
HITLER IS A JERK
MOUSSOLINI IS A SHEENY
WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK"
With today's wars we hide them from the kids as best we can. How does one explain the difference to a child between what Canadians fought for in WWI and II and what the soldiers he sees fighting today are killing and dying for.
Simon really liked wearing his poppy (Yes I took the pin out and velcroed it...).
We dragged him around Flanders, Passchendaele, Vimy... he asked about things and I think he understood the answers. He certainly will have a different perspective on it having been there than we did growing up. Remembrance day was a day we had to go to assembly and see some old guys and listen to Andrea Prazmoski recite a poem about a cemetery in some field owned by a guy name Flanders (Ned?). Honestly, it wasn't till I went there I realized Flanders is the whole region where those really nasty WWI battles were. Those fields with the crosses row on row are everywhere in Flanders. I get it now. I watched a lot of History Television this week.
Memorial at Passchendaele: "To honour the Canadians who on the fields of Flanders ... fought in the cause of the allies"
It's just a quiet little town that so many men went though hell and died trying to get to.
We cruised through in a Renault.
So many of the headstones like the one on the right say only "A Soldier of the Great War".
It's regretful that Dad never managed to visit places like this or Normandy and Juno beach (we knew he was never gonna get to Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, as much as he'd refer to it). I think he really would have appreciated being there. I would have liked to take the tour with him.
It seemed like he was finally gonna start to venture "across the pond" but fate had something different in mind.
So this Remembrance day we remember. And we can be thankful.