Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11th: Remembrance Day, a day of Peace

lest we forget, originally uploaded by striatic.
Every year in November, people in Canada, Britain, America, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries wear poppies. You can see a poppy in the picture above. We wear the poppy to help us remember all the young men and women killed in war. We also wear the poppy to help us think of peace. World War 1 ended on the 11th of November 1919 at 11 o'clock. At 11 o'clock today please stop. Be quiet for one minute. Remember all the people who we have lost. Remember all the sadness of war. Think of the joy of peace. Let's do our best to make peace everywhere.
Here is a beautiful poem. A Canadian soldier in World War 1 wrote the poem. I memorised the poem when I was a school boy. I recited the poem every Remembrance Day. I think it's a beautiful poem. I hope you do too.

In Flanders Fields

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.


  1. Oh, I don't know that.
    Just I wonder why all people wear a red flower...
    The First World War was not familiar with me as same as the Second World War, but I must know it.
    I'll try to stop everything a moment and remember in next year!!

    Anyway, I think it's good poem, but it makes me a little bit sad.

  2. Hi Hirona,
    Thanks for your comment.
    I'm feeling guilty because I didn't pause for 2 minutes this year. I was in the middle of a lesson. The students I was teaching aren't proficient enough to understand an explanation of why we should pause at 11 o'clock on November 11th. I didn't want to cause any confusion, so I just carried on. I wish my Japanese were better. Then I could have explained. Still, it's a difficult thing and some people at the university might think it inappropriate. Hmmm, well, I have a year to think about it.
    In Flanders Fields is a beautiful poem, and yes it is sad, but it is also hopeful, the last stanza especially. To me, "the foe" is war. War is the enemy. I think that in the last stanza John McRae is asking us to carry the torch for peace. The torch is a powerful symbol. It brings light to darkness, and the torch bearer is the leader. I think John McRae wants us to lead the way to peace.
    If you are interested in WW1, you can read about it on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_war_1
    Scroll down the left side bar to find the Japanese article. I also recommend two great novels, "The Ghost Road" by Pat Barker and "Deafening" by Frances Itani. I'm in the middle of reading Deafening now. It's quite moving. If you're interested, I'll send it to you after I finish reading it.
    Another thing you might want to check out is "The Black Adder goes Forth". It's a great BBC series. Ask our friends about it.
    Take care and reply soon!