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.
(Written by: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, May 3, 1915)
Today is a day when thoughts turn to those who have battled, won, lost, killed, injured, survived, but all changed through the wars that were fought to bring freedom to many. The power of freedom, whether we fight for ourselves or others is a power beyond compare.
My great-grandfather Charles Perry is buried at Flanders Field. He never came home to meet his youngest child, never knew his grandchildren or great grandchildren. He is a hero to me. To sacrifice himself, his life to fight for the freedom of others in a far away land. Not only him, but his family who must have prayed every day for his safety and return.
My grandfather E.T. Ferris battled in WWII. He came home and raised his family, met his grandchildren, and some of his great-grandchildren. He is another hero. He was fortunate to come home, but I can not believe that he came home untouched by the horrors he saw, experienced and engaged in.
There are many others in my family history. My great-uncle Charles Perry (the 2nd) also battled in WWII and returned safely home. My grandfather Fred Perry was medically unfit to go to war, but they are both heroes. One who went and one who stayed, they both fought a battle, for it was those who stayed that held up home and hearth in prayers for the safe return of the many family and friends who had gone, never knowing if they would return or if they would die.
There have been many wars since and I'm sure that there will be many more wars in our future. We should never forget how horrid these wars are. We, to this day, have men and women returning from war who are sorely touched and damaged and killed in fighting for the freedoms that we so often take for granted.
Today is a day to remember to whom we owe the honour and privilege of dancing in freedom. Lives have been laid down, changed, and damaged. No one comes out of a battle the same person they were when they went in. We must remember to thank them., whether they served for a day or a year. I urge you to express your appreciation, not just on Remembrance Day, but on any day you have the opportunity to say thank you. They serve us and our country with their lives. That is a great sacrifice.