November 11 – Remembrance Day

by Linda Hoye

In Canada, where I was born and grew up, November 11 is known as Remembrance Day. It is a day set aside to remember those brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. Members of the Royal Canadian Legion sell poppies and almost everyone wears a poppy on their lapel in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day. It is a statutory holiday and at ceremonies are held all over the country at the eleventh hour of the eleventh month honouring our war dead.

When I was a little girl on the morning of Remembrance Day my dad brought out his war medals and polished them in preparation for wearing them as he marched with other veterans in the parade leading toward the cenotaph. Shortly before eleven o’clock the bugler would play The Last Post and the last mournful note signaled two minutes of silence.

In 1983 when I was twenty-four years old I donated my money to a veteran in the Aberdeen Mall and gently lifted three red poppies from his tray. Dad had died suddenly two months earlier and I was still grieving the loss of the man who had loved me unconditionally and called me his Princess. I led my two children, Laurinda and Michael—then five and three—to the side of the busy mall and knelt in front of them and pinned a poppy on their jackets.

“This is to remember Grandpa.” I told them as I fought back tears.

In later years Michael marched proudly with his Cub Scout pack toward the cenotaph on Remembrance Day and as I stood shivering in the cold November morning I imagined Dad marching right alongside of him—as proud of his grandson as I knew he would have been had he lived long enough for the day.

I live in the United States now and the American Legion doesn’t sell poppies like their Canadian brothers do. I saved one from when we lived in Canada and I will pin it on my lapel before I head out for the day today. I remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us and I remember my dad.

Lest we forget.

Linda Hoye is a writer who still misses her dad twenty-eight years later. She lives in Washington state with her husband and their two doted-upon Yorkshire Terriers, but Saskatchewan, Canada, will always be the home of her heart. Linda blogs at A Slice of Life Writing.

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10 responses to “November 11 – Remembrance Day

  1. Pingback: Lest We Forget

  2. Touching blog. Thanks for sharing

  3. Dear Linda,
    As “Pat Bean” says, this blog is “touching.” The memory of your father is threaded through it.

    Years ago, when I was small–back in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, we did get poppies from the American Legion and wear them. I don’t know why that tradition ended. Perhaps because of the Vietnam War and all turbulence then. It is sad that we no longer truly express externally our gratitude to those who have fought so bravely in these interminable wars.

  4. Thank you for your kind words, Pat and Dee.

  5. That was a lovely story. I recall having seen the vets selling the poppy pins in Canada and I even bought at least one at one time. I could still have it somewhere. I tend to save little mementos like that.

    Lee
    Ann Carbine Best visits Wrote By Rote on Saturday 11/12/11

  6. Such a lovely tribute to your father,Linda. It really struck a chord in me as my precious WWII Veteran father died last November. I miss him more than ever and expect I will for the rest of my life. But he left us with wonderful memories, many related to his time as a young Navy man on the USS Augusta. Our “Greatest Generation” heroes give us so much to remember and be grateful for. Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. What a lovely piece, Linda. I’m so glad to find you here, to know others are finding your powerful writing. When I was a child, poppies were sold in the states as well. I have vivid memories of the bits of red paper and feeling patriotic for wearing them. I read In Flanders Fields to my fifth graders this year, and while they didn’t quite get it, I think, unfortunately, they got more than I did at ten. This generation has never known a time of peace.

  8. Linda, that was a touching story. My family has served too. Blessings***

  9. I remember those poppy pins in the U.S., too, but it must have been all the way into the 1980s because I was grown up. Poppies are so meaningful due to the Flanders Fields poem, and I wish those pins were brought back. Maybe because they are so associated with WWII and we’ve had so many more wars since then, sadly. What a handsome dad, Linda!

  10. Well, this is odd. I went to relieve the receptionist so she could have lunch and found she has two poppies on her desk, bought from veterans at her local grocery store.

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