Remembrance Day 2014 at Grandview Park

November 11, 2014

2014 Remembrance

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We had a very big service at Grandview Park this morning; I cannot recall the Park ever having so many people at one time.  I guess events in Ottawa and Quebec, and the 100th anniversary of World War One, may have combined to bring out the crowds.  It was a beautiful sunny day, but cold and with a chill wind.  It was a day for hats and scarves and big coats and standing in respectful silence.

Libby Davis, MP, laid the wreath for Canada, while MLAs Shane Simpson and Jenny Kwan did the same for their provincial ridings.  Councillors Louie, Meggs, and Reimer presented for the City.  Their were lots of other wreaths, too, with representatives from Hong Kong, Italy, the US, and the Philippines, along with more local groups.

At the time in the ceremony when a singer was supposed to lead the singing of “Abide With Me“, she was apparently not available.  No worries; one group by Commercial began singing, and another group on the west side of the Park began singing.  And pretty soon everyone was singing, and occasionally, but only occasionally, everybody was in synch.  Either way it was moving.

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For Remembrance: On Seeing A Photograph

November 11, 2014

You were young men in the Guards
treading water in wretched trenches
swinging kitbags and rifles and broad silly grins

so young
that two billion volumes single-spaced wouldn’t be enough
to list all of life’s treasures
you haven’t experienced yet
and still you would die
right then
right there
doing right
or so you thought
as you lay where
no-one could tell where
mud ended and blood began

three and four generations removed,
we lay wreathes for your wraiths
on a hollow day in November
while the parades and the poppies
hallucinate
an annual landscape of memory

profound today, gone tomorrow

and for three or four days the flowers fade
and the greenery browns at your memorials
and then the work crews come

young men and women with guarded futures
treading water at minimum wage
swinging brooms and shovels and black plastic bags

and when the work trucks leave
your memory has turned once again
to cold undecorated stone
and nothing can ever change
the fact
that you died before you started living.