November 11th is Remembrance Day, the day when the Germans, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, unconditionally surrendered, thus ending the Great War. After four long years of fighting, over 66 000 Canadian soldiers had been killed in the trenches of Europe. On this day, we remember all of the brave Canadian soldiers who fell, over 108 000, in the Great War, the Second World War, the Korean War, UN peacekeeping missions and continue to fight and die in Afghanistan today, for their country, for our rights and freedoms.
The poppy is the symbol of remembrance. It comes form the famous poem In Flanders Field written by medic John McCrae in 1915 during the battle of Ypres and this poem has come to symbolize all of those who have fallen in service of Canada.
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
We cannot fathom 108 000 lost lives, killed in defense of our country but we can remember one soldier. Today, I will honour Corporal Nathan Hornburg, 24, from Calgary Alberta of the King's Own Calgary Regiment, Alberta, killed September 24, 2007 in a mortar attack, Panjwayi District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
May his memory and the memory of all the Canadian fallen be for a blessing.
Yehi Zichram Baruch