Welcome to the special Remembrance Day edition of the CAHS National Newsletter. Look for the November National Newsletter in your mailbox later this month.
100th Anniversary of the poem, In Flanders Fields
Ceremony in Griesbach honours 100th anniversary of ‘In Flanders Fields’
By Caley Ramsay Web Producer Global News
EDMONTON — One-hundred years after it was written, Lt.-Col. John McCrae’s iconic poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ continues to be a large part of Canada’s history and this weekend, it was honoured at a ceremony in Edmonton.
A bronze plaque etched with McCrae’s hand-written words was unveiled at Flanders Field Park in the Griesbach district Sunday morning. Two story boards were also showcased, one explaining how McCrae came to write the poem during the Second Battle of Ypres and the other explaining how his poem and the poppy became the symbol of remembrance.
“It’s a poem that tells people about why the soldiers were there and it talks about the lives cut short. The Great War, the First World War, an entire generation was lost during that war,” said Lt.-Col. Roger Scott.
“To think of an entire generation wiped out and cut down in its prime, you need to remember that. And this war that was supposed to end all wars and yet we’re still going off to conflict and and conflict still rages around the world.”
To read the full article and view video footage, click here.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS 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.
~ 3 May 1915 John McCrae
Symbol of Remembrance
The Poppy, Symbol of Remembrance
From the Canadian War Museum website.
The adoption of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance has international origins. The first person to use it this way was Moina Michael, a member of the staff of the American Overseas YMCA in the last year of the war. Michael read McCrae's poem and was so moved that she composed one of her own in response. She recalled later: "In a high moment of white resolve, I pledged to keep the faith and always to wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance and the emblem of 'keeping the faith with all who died.'"
Consequently, she led a successful campaign to have the American Legion recognize the poppy as the official symbol of remembrance in April 1920. At the same time, Madame Anne Guerin, of France, inspired both by McCrae's poem and by Moina Michael's example, also became a vigorous advocate of the poppy as the symbol of remembrance for war dead. Her own organization, the American and French Children's League, sold cloth copies of the flower to help raise money to re-establish war-devastated areas in Europe.
In 1921, Guerin travelled to Britain and Canada on behalf of the poppy and convinced both the recently formed British Legion and the Canadian Great War Veterans Association (a predecessor of the Canadian Legion) to adopt the poppy as their symbol of remembrance as well. The first 'Poppy Day' in both countries occurred on 11 November 1921. The Returned Soldiers League in Australia adopted the poppy as its symbol of remembrance the same year.
For the first year, these artificial poppies were bought from Guerin's organization in France. By 1922, however, the various countries had started manufacturing them at home. In Canada, they were made by Vetcraft shops, run by the Department of Soldiers Civil Re-establishment and staffed by disabled soldiers. After its formation in 1925, the Canadian Legion (known as the Royal Canadian Legion since 1959) has run the poppy campaign in Canada.
An early edition of the Legion's magazine, The Legionary, explained the significance of buying poppies made by Vetcraft, as opposed to commercially available copies, as follows: "The disabled veterans in Vetcraft and Red Cross workshops are creating true memorials, while a poppy replica produced under ordinary commercial competitive conditions is nothing more nor less than an artificial flower."
The artificial poppy continues to flourish as the symbol of remembrance in the week leading up to the official commemorations on November 11. Today, millions of Canadians wear the bright red emblem to remember and honour the many thousands of their fellow Canadians who have died in war.
Documentary on Lancaster bombers premieres Remembrance Day
CBC News Posted: Aug 06, 2015 11:35 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 06, 2015 3:19 PM ET
The documentary "Reunion of Giants" will screen at select theatres on Remembrance Day. The film follows a 70-year-old Avro Lancaster bomber as it travels to the United Kingdom from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton. (John Dibbs)
A film documenting the historic reunion of the world's two remaining airworthy Lancaster bombers will screen for the first time on Remembrance Day, when it will be shown for free in select theatres across Canada.
Cineplex Entertainment will premiere the documentary Reunion of Giants, which follows the transatlantic journey of a 70-year-old Avro Lancaster to England and its highly successful summer tour there with the only other airworthy Lancaster in the world. With the screening, Cineplex says, Canadians will have a chance to remember the valiant crews who flew and maintained the Second World War-era planes.
"It's a big deal," said Morgan Elliott, who is making the film with her Dundas company Suddenly SeeMore Productions.
"We really want people to come on Remembrance Day and enjoy a free movie and reflect on what the brave men of the Bomber Command did."
The voyage took place in the summer of 2014, when crews flew the plane from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton to the United Kingdom.
It wasn't an easy journey for the bomber, which is named VeRA. It flew via Goose Bay, Labrador and Iceland during its transatlantic flight. Along the way, the crew encountered an engine failure, an emergency landing, and a storm. Thousands of people came out to see VeRA and her English counterpart, Thumper, take to the skies together during a series of appearances around the country.
The last time Lancasters flew together was 50 years ago over Toronto, at RCAF Station Downsview. The RCAF flew a special formation of three of the bombers in April 1964 to mark their retirement from service.
The documentary includes interviews with veterans of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command.
The film is in the final stages, Elliott says. The team is adding the score now. The project has become "the little engine that could."
She also hopes to plan an official red-carpet screening in the Hamilton area.
Cineplex says it will announce participating theatres in September and make free tickets available Oct. 2.
To view the Reunion of Giants trailer, click here.
To read the original CBC news article, click here.
Poppies in Bloom
A utility box at the RCAF Commemorative Park in Edmonton is painted to commemorate the famous poem, "In Flanders Fields", by John McCrae. Photo by John Chalmers.
Poppies were in still in bloom on September 20 at the dedication ceremonies of the RCAF Commemorative Park, with the Royal Canadian Artillery Band providing music for the occasion. Photo by John Chalmers.
Even in late September, poppies at the RCAF Commemorative Park, like the starburst monument in the background, reached towards the sun. Photo by John Chalmers.
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