A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest we forget

Today is Remebrance Day in Canada (and Australia and the United Kingdom) and Veterans Day in the United States. Please take a moment to remember those who have served our countries. More precisely, take a moment at 11:00 am.

Generally speaking, Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day are supposed to be marked at "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month", which commemorates the end of World War I. Although troops continued to fight until the great treaty at Versailles was signed on June 28 1919, most historians mark the treaty at Compiegne, which was signed at that precise moment(eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) in 1918.

Coincidentally, this date also marks the 90th anniversary of the cessation of the Battle of Passchendaele, during which 448,000 allied troops were lost -- 16,000 of whom were Canadian.

The poppy that you see being worn on the lapels of coaches and announcers is an emblem of Remembrance Day. It represents poppies that grew in the Belgian battlefields, and the "Flanders Fields" were Allied troops were buried. There is a famous poem written by a Canadian soldier in WWI , entitled In Flanders Fields, which is commonly recited on Remembrance Day:
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.

— John McCrae

The Montréal Canadiens have adopted the line "To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high" as sort of a team motto.

Please take a moment to remember the thousands of men who gave their lives fighting for our countries.

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