Monday, November 11, 2013

We Wear A Poppy


November 11 th is a day of Remembrance. We wear a poppy to remember those who have served, here is why:

The poem for those who have not read it.  Here in Canada it is on the lips of every  school aged child on Remembrance Day

In Flanders' Fields
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 hand 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
 Major John McCrae 1915

A Repost from Last Year.....

I am quite nervous about writing this particular post.  Why? -because  I am writing this post  to express my deepest gratitude and reverence to not only Veterans but People in the Armed Services.   I really want to convey my gratitude in a thoughtful way, and I am certainly no author.  I merely recount things in my daily life.  As this topic is of the utmost importance to me, I will give it my best shot.

I would like to tell you a little about Barney’s father first.  Barney’s father was 27 years old when he began flying for the RAF during WWII.  He flew Lancasters.  He never saw combat as he became a flight instructor in England during the war- he did watch as many of his friends and 'students' leave on missions only to never return.  His only mission  was after the war dropping supplies over The Netherlands. For this he was grateful.  

Mr. Rubble had numerous photos of his time during the war and even kept his flight manifest.  There was one photo he had that was professionally taken  of him in his uniform and an unidentified woman in a uniform.  No one knew who she was, and no one ever asked him.  He apparently was quite the ‘player’ back in the day, so everyone assumed she just was another girlfriend.

In his later years Mr. Rubble was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  He was quite on in life when this happened so it didn’t take ‘hold’ very quickly.  That being said, he seemed to relive stories from his past more vividly then he did before.  One story that he seemed to relive as he told was of the mysterious woman in the photo.  No one asked, but one day he just started speaking through tears.  It turns out the woman’s name was Rosie.  He met her during the war.  They fell in love and became engaged.  The photo was taken so it could be sent back to Canada to show his family his fiancĂ©. It was never sent.  She worked in an ammunition's factory in Scotland.  It was bombed on her shift.  She was killed.    

Mr. Rubble’s mother had 5 sons.  All of them left Canada to go and fight throughout various locations in Europe.  As a mother of 3 boys I can not imagine what those years must have been like for her.  She was so very fortunate, where a great deal of other mothers were not- every single one of her sons came home to her.

I grew up in an Air Force town.   I went to school with children who’s parents were in The Forces.  I babysat for people who were in The Forces. My uncle and my cousin both served in the Canadian Air Force.  I have to drive through a Canadian Armed Forces base to get ‘home’, and I see the yellow ribbons attached to every sign post on the highway when another one of our soldiers is killed.  I have driven on the Canadian Highway of Heroes in Ontario, ( see explanation and video below), and although I have never actually been there when they bring a fallen soldier home and down the highway, I cried driving on it anyway.  I have been to the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek in the Netherlands and stood by the graves of fallen soldiers who never made it home, even in death.

What I haven’t done is explain to my children why Daddy is missing their birthday.  Why he seemed different since he came home- or why he isn’t coming home.  I haven’t waited to hear if my husband is leaving us.  I haven’t had sleepless nights wondering if my husband is safe, warm, lonely, hurt.  For all you wives out there who have, I thank you for your sacrifice- whether your husband wears a Canadian Flag on his uniform, or an American Flag, or any one of our Allies’ flags- I thank you for your sacrifice.

For the men/women who do what you do to keep our world safe, I thank you.  I thank the Canadian Soldier past and present.  My gratitude is equally extended to the American Soldier.  I express my thanks to all of our allies that leave their families so that my family will remain safe.

My children are huge history buffs.  We discuss war and conflict, past and present.  They have been to the Canadian War museum and know a great deal about the artifacts within its walls.  Yes they play their Playstation Call of Duty game, but we make sure to discuss real life and the game.-having conversations, which they initiate, about how they couldn’t possibly imagine doing this in real life.  They have a great respect for those who Serve.  That is what we do as parents.  We teach our boys that they have their freedom because of people who Serve and sacrifice for us.  We ‘can’t imagine doing it in real life’, but thank God there are men and women out there that do.

Thank You .

Additional info
Highway of Heroes
A Highway of Heroes reassurance marker with a red poppy flower in place of a number. Above that is the text Highway of Heroes, and below it SUPPORT OUR TROOPS.
On August 24, 2007, the MTO announced that the stretch of Highway 401 between Glen Miller Road in Trenton and the intersection of the Don Valley Parkway and Highway 404 in Toronto would bear the additional name Highway of Heroes, in honour of Canadian soldiers who have died,[116] though Highway 401 in its entirety remains designated as the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway.[117] This length of the highway is often travelled by a convoy of vehicles carrying a dead soldier's body, with his or her family, from CFB Trenton ( Canadian Forces Base Trenton)  to the coroner's office at the Centre for Forensic Sciences in Toronto. Since 2002, when the first dead Canadian soldiers were returned from Afghanistan, crowds have lined the overpasses to pay their respects as convoys pass.[118]


  1. I was in Ireland one year and everyone was wearing the poppy. It was really quite moving because everywhere you looked, EVERYONE was wearing a poppy. My friends and I bought our poppies and wore them proudly. My father, grandfather and one of my brothers served. In church this morning we prayed for and with our vets as they all stood proudly. It is a good thing to take a day and remember. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. What a lovely tribute Willie. In our town, our local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) members stand at traffic intersections and Wal-Mart and collect donations to help fund their veterans programs. When you donate, they hand out poppies for us to wear in remembrance. Joining with you in sending my deepest thanks and respect to all military personnel (past and present) along with their families.

    Hugs and Blessings...

  3. Very nice post. my dad and father in law both fought in Vietnam I wasn't born yet but I couldn't imagine worrying about him on a daily basis

  4. Hey Willie,

    Such a lovely tribute to the Men and Women who serve and sacrifice for us. Here we celebrate ANZAC Day in April and also wear the poppy. We will remember them. Lest we forget.


  5. Wilma, this is a beautiful post. As I got ready to go to church, yesterday, I thought of the privaledge that we have of worshiping freely, and how that privaledge was given to us by those who wore the military uniforms. We live less than a half mile from an Air Force base. Our church is in our neighborhood, so we have many current military personnel and many who have retired from the military. I go to a small church. I smile when I look around and some of the very sweetest ladies in their 90s, at our church, served in the military in their young years. Some of our members have children that are serving now. A mother of twin 4 year olds is over-seas. How hard that must be on her, to be away from those precious children. We owe so much to these soldiers. I thank God for them and their sacrifices. Thank you, Wilma, for sharing your thoughts. God bless you and all you love. God bless the soldiers and keep them safe. -Belle L.

  6. What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing about Mr Rubble. Very moving.

    I've just come back from a Remembrance service.


  7. Lovely, heart-warming post, Willie.

    Just want to say that my Dad flew in Lancasters and later Wellington Bombers, firstly out of a base near Blackpool, and then from a small airfield near Nottingham. He was the Flight Engineer. He lost many good friends, but would rarely talk about his experiences. Like many Poles we emigrated to Canada in the early 1950s, but unfortunately ended up having to return to England when my grandma got a brain tumour, and we never got back to Canada apart from visits.

    We were thinking of all those who served, and who still serve today, when we honoured them at the eleventh hour today with a two minute silence. It seems very little for such a great sacrifice.

    "At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we shall remember them."


  8. Beautiful, heartfelt post Willie. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    love sara

  9. Beautiful post Willie, thank you so much for sharing your story. I know for myself and my husband serving our country was such an honor, and I never be able to repay the military for all they did for me, they made me the person I am today.

    Thank you for remembering

  10. What a warm heart felt post. Thank you Willie!

  11. What a beautiful tribute Wilma. Thank you. Love and hugs.

  12. This is a beautiful post and a wonderful way of saying thank you to so many people who have done so much. Thanks for sharing it.

  13. Willie, I am behind, but I just loved this beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. So many forget in today's world to be thankful for all that was/is sacrificed for us. They did so much, we should be ever thankful for everything they did and gave up for us.