The photo above was taken last year at the Nipissing Museum in the small town by that name south-west of North Bay, Ontario. It is a photocopy of the original manuscript for John McCrae’s famous, “In Flanders Fields”. The poem is known worldwide as a sign of remembrance. The original, along with all of his manuscripts, was given to Mrs. Jean Cameron Smith, a resident of Nipissing, by McCrae while she served with him as a field nurse during World War I. It is said that Mrs. Cameron Smith was present when McCrae died. Sadly, Mrs. Cameron Smith was killed in a fire at her home in 1942. All of the documents were also lost.
In my quest for the history of the region, I have found a number of soldier’s graves, taken note of the memorials and spoken to war veterans Frank Cooper and most recently, Spitfire Pilot Stan Socha. My grandfather, a veteran of WWII and a navy man, passed last year. The generations that fought in the two world wars are nearly gone now. It is up to us to remember their sacrifices and the sacrifices of soldiers and peace keepers in our own times. Because they fought and died, we continue to have the freedom to make our own choices – for better or worse.
If you cannot join the gatherings of of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, remember to take a moment of silence and honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Lest we forget…
Poppy for the Royal Canadian Legion