Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Flowers the colour of blood

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - I realize that the signing of the Armistice agreement to end World War I was 90 years ago today in 1918, officially ending the war on the 11th day of the 11th month at 1100 hrs (the 11th hour). In Canada, Australia, the UK and other Commonwealth countries, today is Remembrance Day. In the US it is called Veterans Day, although until 1952 it was Armistice Day. In New Zealand, France and Belgium, it is still called Armistice Day. For Poland, today is Independence Day.

It doesn't matter what you call it, 90 years ago today, the first World War came to an end but not until the end of many hundreds of thousands of lives. This day has come to represent more than the celebration of freedom, and the mourning of the lives lost in that first World War. Indeed, it has become to represent the great sacrifices made by all soldiers, both alive and dead, in order that you and I can be free. There is a war going on as I write, and you read. Whether in peace time or in war, at this moment there are thousands of men and women at war.

Each year by the middle of September, Poppy lapel pins start showing up on store counters and on jacket collars all over town. This year however, there seems to be a short supply of Poppy Pins. For the first year in my adult life, I have no poppy. I didn't get one in the mail. I haven't seen one in a store anywhere I've been in the last three weeks. There hasn't been a Veteran on the sidewalks selling the pins. The Veterans are getting too old to stand on the streets to push the poppies, and stores hate to give up valuable counter space without a profit. So for the first time, I have no poppy. Even more disturbing than that, I overheard a group of teenagers this weekend who were all wondering what the red flower was all about. Now THAT is disturbing.

I may not have a Poppy, but at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, I will stop what I'm doing and give a minute of silence to remember the sacrifices of others and to thank them for the freedoms I enjoy now.

The 11th day of the 11th month is also Twins Day in Taiwan. This is a festival for biological twins. Apparently the date was selected because 11-11 looks like a pair of twins. Must be something to this date in Asian cultures. As 11-11 is also Singles Day in China - a day to celebrate the single lifestyle. Really, if you are single, do you need one day to celebrate being single? Isn't every day a celebration? Whatever other things today brings (Happy B'day P), lets celebrate with blood red poppies.

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