They were hardy corpsmen

And didn’t see it coming

Didn’t see the shrapnel

That took them clean from France

Three weeks and no movement

All dug-in, damp in duty

Trench-life made of waiting

But wanting to advance.

Somewhere out in No-Man’s

That morning of the order

Lark was singing gaily

Where gray had stamped out life

Frost had flecked the grasses

And rations fed the masses

As young men from the farmlands

And factories faced new strife.

Now a different stirring

A dawn chill vision blurring

As Kraut and Brit

Expected something strange

Ordnance preparing

Not one a smile was wearing

The big guns back

Now moved to closer range.

And in an instant blazing

A Father lost a Son

A village lost a plumber

And a doctor scarce begun

A Lover lost her one dream

Far away neath prairie sun

And Johnny would not

Come marching home again.

Note: The photo was taken on November 7th in Paris, Ontario. Beneath dramatic variable skies its over-exposure seems other-worldly.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Service ‘Round the Cenotaph

I remember the times when our son served with Air Cadets in the overnight vigil preceding the Remembrance Day parade and service in Kitchener. Sometimes frosty. Sometimes rainy. The kids took shifts at posting the various cenotaph locations overnight.

A warm breakfast followed the uncommon night and cadets suited up in full for the parade. Community bands would accompany the march through the downtown. Very old veterans participated with pride and tearful nostalgia. At the cenotaph various groups presented wreaths. The trumpet last post was sounded. The moment’s silence observed. The pastor’s message of hope and thanksgiving and empathy for those continuing in hazardous service.

All tremendously good experience and outlook for the cadets. The cold night a vivid reminder of life and responsibility in the trenches. The fellowship with the veterans in the parade and after-reception unforgetttable.

And that is what it is all about…not forgetting. The evil capability in the heart of man. The vain agendas of unchecked nationalism. The vulnerability of our life’s walk. The worth of a real and true friend. The dark night when God appears. The hardships bravely faced by our forbears for sake of the oppressed and freedom.

How could the exercise ever be perceived as out-dated? Admittedly most of the vets from the two Great Wars are gone. (This year my own Father.) But the issues are still with us.

It remains most fitting that at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day in the eleventh month all machines, cash registers, vehicles, offices and classrooms should come to a moment of pause, silence, thanksgiving and reflection.

Published by


Married and father of two. Living in Waterloo, Ontario. Workplace health and safety professional. Blogger. Poet. Nature hiker. History buff. Inspirational writer. Newsboy for Jesus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s