Lest we forget

At the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month we acknowledge those brave men and women who fought and died for their country, with a minutes silence.

Today is Remembrance Day. Originally proclaimed Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War 1 the name was changed in 1945 as a fitting representation for all people who died or suffered during any war or armed conflict.

I don’t know who made this quote but on a day like today I thought it was fitting to post it here.poppy-flower

It is the VETERAN , not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN , not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN , not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN , not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN , not the politician, Who has given us the right to vote.

According to the Australian War Memorial there have been 102,814 deaths during wartime from the 1885 conflict in the Sudan through to the current hostilities in Iraq. These people are listed in the Roll of Honour which lines the Memorial’s Commemorative Area, but does not include civilian casualties.

roselandWith such a small population it would be hard to find an Australian family who hasn’t been touched by the horrors of war. Our family certainly was.

My Great Grandfather, William James Roseland, died of his wounds in a field hospital in France. He was a driver in the Australian Field Artillery 1 Brigade and is buried in the Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France. Official date of death is the 14th August 1918, less than three months before the cease fire.

My Grandfathers fared a little better. Both of them returned from World War 2 alive yet suffered nightmares from the scenes the witnessed.

My father’s generation were involved with Vietnam and although none of his friends were killed in the conflict there are still those who, when asked about their experiences, develop a dark brooding stare and lapse into silence.

My generation has had to deal with East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq with at least fifteen deaths so far. That’s fifteen sets of parents who have lost a child, fifteen wives and girlfriends who have lost a loved one, and several little children who have lost the love of a parent.

William left behind a loving wife and a son who never got to know his father.

Unfortunately this story is far too common, so I ask you all to share a minutes silence with me in memory of everyone who gave their lives in service of their country and the families they left behind.

Lest We Forget!

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
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.

First published on Matts Notes