Remembrance Day has always been a very significant day in my family.
My maternal grandfather, Frank Goddard served as a soldier at Vimy Ridge in World War I.
My father, Edward Parham, was a sailor for the British Navy in World War II and also served in the Korean War twice for the Canadian Navy.
For the last few years on November 11th, my sister, her daughter (my niece), visit our parents and grandparents graves to remember them and thank our father and grandfather for their service so we can live in a peaceful country.
We also thank our mother and grandmother because they stayed at home looking after the children and kept the home ready for their husband’s return from the wars.
Here are a few facts about Remembrance Day:
- It was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m. — the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
- Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a moment of silence to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace.
Here are a few facts about The Poppy:
- The poppy is the symbol of Remembrance Day.
- The poppy became widespread in Europe after soils in France and Belgium became rich in lime from debris and rubble from the fighting during the First World War. These little red flowers also flourished around the gravesites of the war dead.
- In 1915, John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian Artillery, famously made note of this phenomenon in his poem, In Flanders Fields.
- On Saturday November 9, 1918, two days before the Armistice, Moina Michael was on duty in the reading room where she read John McCrae’s poem. After reading it, Moina made a personal pledge to always wear the red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance and for “keeping the faith with all who died.”
- In 1920, Anna Guérin (the French Poppy Lady) was inspired by Moina Michael’s idea of the poppy as a memorial flower and felt that the scope of the Memorial Poppy could be expanded to help the needy. In 1921, Madame Guérinvisited Canada and convinced the Great War Veterans Association of Canada (predecessor to the Royal Canadian Legion) to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance in aid of fundraising; which it did on July 5th of that year.
- Today, the Poppy Campaign is one of the Royal Canadian Legion’s most important programs. The money raised from donations provides direct assistance for Veterans in financial distress, as well as funding for medical equipment, medical research, home services, long term care facilities and many other purposes.
Let us all remember and be grateful for those brave men and women who served in order for us to live in a peaceful country.