Remembrance Day Thoughts

Poppies in a field after remembrance day ceremonies

I don’t have immediate family members who served in any war, although it’s highly possible that distant relatives served in at least one of the world wars. Regardless, Remembrance Day is one of the most important, and certainly most poignant, days of the year for me.

Over the years, I’ve kept every poppy I’ve purchased, except for the many that have fallen from my jacket. Seventeen of them are pinned to my bulletin board among business cards and notes. These poppies are a constant reminder that, thanks to those who served, I have freedoms here in Canada that citizens of some other countries do not. The freedom to choose my own path, though, came with a hefty price for those who fought for this privilege.

Serving in the armed forces must be one of the most difficult, and in many ways, thankless jobs a person can do. Yet, to me, it’s a noble and essential profession, and we need to honor these folks more than ever.

Heartfelt thanks and a big salute to the men and women who served and are serving today. This year, I’ll be watching the ceremonies on TV, with tears in my eyes and poppies nearby, as I always do. Lest we forget.

Remembrance Day And The Power Of Words

remembrance-poppy[1]I always prepare a first draft of my blogs on Mondays. This year, Remembrance Day was on Monday. As I wrote the first draft, the TV was showing images of ceremonies that had occurred earlier across Canada. I also read heartfelt Facebook posts about grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters who served our country.

Since I usually post my blog on Wednesdays, I thought that maybe I shouldn’t write about something that happened two days ago, but then I thought, shouldn’t we always be remembering those who fought and sacrificed so much? Shouldn’t we acknowledge veterans and those are who are still serving after November 11th ? Thus, today’s post is as much about paying respect to those who served as it is the power of words.

My appreciation of poetry and the real power of words, began way back in elementary school after reading John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields. If you want to read a poem with an impact, you can find it HERE. It’s still one of the most powerful poems I’ve ever read and still brings tears to my eyes.

As you all know, words can do many things…heal, amuse, anger, disrupt, hurt, and destroy, to name just a few examples. It reminds us that freedom of speech is one thing, but thoughtless, unfiltered remarks in public or by public figures can have grave consequences.

Those of us who are professional writers spend much of our waking lives editing out what isn’t appropriate or simply doesn’t work. We often self-censure, mainly to make a piece clearer and/or less offensive. Granted, when you write about murder and killing people like I do, some will take offense at the topic, no matter what. So be it. I try to be careful with words, online, on the page, or in person. Words are simply too powerful to wield around like uncontrolled weapons. Although I’m seeing a lot of that these days, it makes me appreciate all the thoughtful writers and bloggers who take care with words. Who know just how much words, and people, matter.