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11-11-11 Millions of Britons fall silent to remember war dead

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In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

This year, as always, the tribute to the war dead started at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the hour, day, and month when the guns on the Western Front fell silent at the end of the First World War in 1918.

We who wear red poppies and stop and stand in silence remember those who died that we might be free.

At Trafalgar Square, Adrian Kies, 85, who served in the Navy from 1944 to 1949, attended the event to pay his respects after travelling by boat from the Netherlands.

The wheelchair-bound veteran said: "I came here after the war in 1945 and I saw the first parade and now I will see the last one for myself.

"It's very important for me to come and thank the British people who fought for us. I want to thank the British people for liberating the Netherlands.

We remember as well that the war to end all wars did not end them. "Ceremonies nationwide commemorated fallen servicemen and women from both World Wars and later conflicts, including the 385 British personnel who have died since operations began in Afghanistan in 2001."

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.

"In Flanders Fields" was written in World War One, on the field of battle in 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, Canadian Army (1872-1918) after the death of a friend and student at the Second Battle of Ypres. Always troubled by asthma, McCrae died three years later of pneumonia while commanding the 3 Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne.

The Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal helps to support and protect the interests, welfare and memory of British serving and ex-Service people and their dependents. Around 10.5 million people - of all ages – are eligible to approach the Legion for support. They depend on us.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high. . .

Freedom will always be under threat. Our prayer is this:

". . .Fear not that you have died for naught, / The torch you threw to us we caught. . ."

Comments (2)

jlh:

The most dangerous moment in a country's wars comes when only those who fought remember what they did.

Cat:

"The most dangerous moment in a country's wars comes when only those who fought remember what they did."

Yes. And why.

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