Remembering

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At the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the terrible guns of the Great War ceased. It was, they said, “the war to end all wars.”

It was, unfortunately, another statement of human folly.

Today, we remember all those who have served, and who serve today on behalf of our country, on behalf of our ideals and values.

In the Battle of the Somme, on July 1st, 1916, 800 Newfoundlanders went ‘over the top’ at Beaumont-Hamel, in France in a directed attack against German lines. They faced the terror of the German machine gun line: only 68 Newfoundlanders responded at roll call the next morning. The impact on the fledgling Dominion was profound, and some attribute the loss of Newfoundland men in the Great War directly to the economic despair that resulted in Newfoundland’s choice to join the confederation of Canada in 1948.

Just as in Newfoundland, across this country our sacrifices in war and conflict have been significant. Each November 11, we stop to remember and reflect.

Wherever you are today at 11, take time to pause and remember.

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.

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