“At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.” — History.com
In Canada, Remembrance Day was originally know as Armistice Day but it was changed as the “war to end all wars” was not the last. . . . WWII, the Korean conflict (there was actually no declaration of war — North Korea invaded South Korea and then on 25 June 1950, the United Nations Security Council unanimously condemned the North’s invasion of the South, with United Nations Security Council Resolution 82 and the UN then provided support to South Korea in their civil war with the North), Afghanistan, peacekeeping in Cyprus, Rwanda, the Balkans, and other places. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has said that Remembrance Day is now a day of “remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict, and peace.”
We ask our soldiers to do the most horrendous thing — kill another human being — but not just once, but over and over again. Yet when they return home, there isn’t enough support, whether it be medical, financial especially in this economy, or moral support in dealing with all the trauma and then trying to fit in a civilian life where rules are not always so clear cut.
Whether a veteran returns in a body bag, or walks off that troop carrier seemingly whole, we OWE all veterans a debt of gratitude and support.
I originally posted this in 2015.
Wild poppies grow on the verge of a Flanders field near Passchendaele as dawn breaks on the centenary of the Great War. Getty
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.
Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, Canadian physician
The setting sun creates long shadows at Sanctuary Wood Military Cemetery in Ypres. Getty
The morning sun falls on the fortified Advanced Dressing Station, near Essex Farm Cemetery in Ypres, where Canadian doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae treated the wounded and is believed to have composed his famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ after burying his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, on 3 May 1915. Getty
A preserved WWI trench system is pictured in Sanctuary Wood in Ypres. Getty
Bomb craters scar the woodland floor in the preserved Sanctuary Wood. Getty
A surviving tree, damaged in the Great War, is covered in tributes. Getty
Ypres was the centre of five battles between German and Allied forces from 1914 to 1918. The deadliest of these was the Third Battle of Ypres or the Battle of Passchendaele, between July and November 1917.
Casualty numbers are disputed, but it is thought that around 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German troops lost their lives.
5 January 1917: Soldiers march past the ruins of St Martins Church and Cloth Hall in Ypres. Getty
5 October 1917: Australian troops march towards the front line to relieve their comrades, who had won Broodseinde Ridge the previous day, during the Battle of Passchendaele. Getty
11 November 1917: Soldiers pose for a photo near the ramparts at Ypres the day after British, Canadian, ANZAC, and French forces finally recaptured the Passchendaele Ridge east of Ypres. Getty
19 April 1918: Soldiers lie dead in the mud on a battlefield during the Lys Offensive, also known as the Fourth Battle of Ypres. Getty
With respect for those who fought & died in Two World Wars
For all the victims, and for the victims of all wars past & present
Remembering the human cost of war, not the financial or political cost of warfare.
Remembering every animal not given a choice, each one a tragic victim
of wars past and present
Lest we forget
A big thank you to Wendy Kelly, Coventry, UK, a Care2 member who sent me most of the pictures and captions