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Old 11-10-2010, 11:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
Evil Priest: The Devil Made Me Do It!
Daniel_'s Avatar
Location: Southern England
Acts Of Remembrance

I am too young to have seen war in my land during my time.

No member of my family for 2 generations has seen war, but it still affects me deeply to think of all the people who continue to put themselves in harms way for us, and of those conscripts and volunteers who suffered or died in all past wars.

I wear the poppy, and I go to the service at the war memorial. I don't make a fuss about it, but I ask my colleagues to observe a moment of calm on 11/11. If you have the chance, please, observe a 2 minute silence at 11am.

Originally Posted by Major John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders field 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 with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~~By Major John McCrae, May 1915.~~
Overhead, the Albatross hangs motionless upon the air,
And deep beneath the rolling waves,
In labyrinths of Coral Caves,
The Echo of a distant time
Comes willowing across the sand;
And everthing is Green and Submarine

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Old 11-11-2010, 02:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
Her Jay
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Location: Ontario for now....
One of my grandfathers fought in WW2, sadly he died 2 years before I was born so I never got to meet him, whatever medals he won during his service are long gone as my mum's side of the family is cuntish to say the least, I don't doubt they ended up at a pawn shop somewhere. I'm hoping to get them reissued to myself as I'm the only one in the family with any interest in military history.

I come from a military town, Petawawa, sadly, I am not there this year to go to the ceremonies, but I'm going to try and get to the Cenotaph here in Medicine Hat tomorrow. Then in the evening after work, I'll be watching Storming Juno on History Television.
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal,
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation,
And a glory that shines upon her tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known,
As the stars are known to the night.

As the stars will be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: East-central Canada
Members of my family fought in both WWI and WWII. The only real information I have is that my grandfather on my mother's side was a tail gunner whose plane was shot down over Holland. He hid amongst farmland (most notably a time in a haystack) before being captured. He ended up living a meagre existence as a prisoner of war for some months before the armistice.

I will be listening to some of the CBC service today, and at 11 a.m., I will recognize two minutes of silence.

....lest I forget......
Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
People in masks cannot be trusted
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Location: NYC
I have never served, my nieces where they live will be forced to serve for 2 years and as a reservist to serve several months every year. My grandfather was a Lieutenant in the Russian army in WW2 (forced to join he was from Poland), he has a bayonet scar and shrapnel still in him that was never removed.

I have great respect for the military who stand in the line of fire for us. Every week in services there is a special prayer for the military.
Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My grandfather served in WWI. He was in a bullpen (basically a fenced in holding area) waiting to be sent to the front lines in France when truce was declared. He was only a day or two from advancing to the front. Considering the casualty rate for front line soldiers, had the war ended a week later, I could very well not be here today.

He never spoke of it much. Considering he was a farm boy from Indiana, it had to have been eye opening to leave the family farm, take a steamer to France and then live just yards from the front line while waiting to advance. I have some of the memorabilia he brought back. Books of post cards of cities in France that were destroyed. A letter opener made from a rifle shell.

I knew several that went to Viet Nam. In fact, I knew one that never came back alive. He was a door gunner on a helicopter. Roy was serving his second stint when he was killed between Christmas and New Years. I'll never forget hearing the news on New Years Eve.

And then there are those that have served recently. They serve willingly. A point that is not lost on me.

They all have my deepest respect and admiration.

To any TFP member that has served our country, thank you. Not just today, but forever.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
Tirian's Avatar
Location: Canada
I'll be playing "The Last Post" at my local town ceremonies this morning. I don't have a lot of family military history, but I always hear some family names in the roll call for my town. Attending the ceremony is always a good reminder.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: The Danforth
Both of my grandfathers fought WWI - opposing sides mind you. My father was 15 year old youngster when the war ended, but he was in the Sea Cadets (ironically based in Bavaria but there was a lake in Fussen) and was exposed to most of the harsh realities of the war.

War has affected my family's life in deep ways. I am thankful and grateful that I have not had to do or face what they did. we are a very lucky and privileged people.

I give my thanks to the service people of today's military, who very often do not have the benefit of the support of the entire nation behind their mission when they go off to battle.

---------- Post added at 12:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:22 PM ----------

And here is some interesting history on our nation's war effort in WWII:

The WWII Story Canadians Don't Know | Sympatico.ca Lifestyle

The WWII Story Canadians Don't Know

This Remembrance Day join Nathan M. Greenfield in recognizing the efforts of Canadians at the Battle of Hong Kong and read their courageous stories in his book, The Damned.

On Remembrance Day Canadians will honour those who fought for our freedom in the great wars, and pay tribute to their bravery and courage. This year, Nathan M. Greenfield is fighting to recognize one group of soldiers whose courageous efforts in World War II have been largely unknown to Canadians. In The Damned Greenfield tells the story of Canada's first land battle in the Second World War, the Battle of Hong Kong, and how the Canadians captured in battle survived over three years in Japanese Prisoner of War camps. Greenfield has captured their stories in harrowing detail, as you'll see in the excerpt below, but now he needs your help.

Join Nathan M. Greenfield on Facebook and read his petition to recognize the efforts and bravery of these Canadians in the Battle of Hong Kong. This Remembrance Day you can help Nathan make a difference and honour those who risked their lives for our country, but have yet to receive the recognition they deserve.

The Canadians at the Battle for Hong Kong and the POW Experience, 1941–45

On 8 December 1941, planes bombed and strafed Hong Kong, and almost two thousand Canadian soldiers who had been sent to bolster the 13,000-man British garrison only a few weeks earlier found themselves at war with the Empire of Japan. As bombs exploded around him, seventeen-year-old Rifleman Bill MacWhirter watched in horror as bullets cut a Chinese man in two. British generals believed they'd be able to hold the Japanese on the mainland of the colony for at least a week; they held them just over a day. Over the next week, shelling and bombings killed hundreds of the more than 1.5 million Chinese on Hong Kong Island. The family of Adrienne Poy, who grew up to become Adrienne Clarkson, our 26th Governor General, and that of Vivienne Poy (née Lee), who grew up to become a Toronto senator and Clarkson's sister-in-law, survived.

The Battle for Hong Kong Island

To the surprise of the British generals, the Japanese crossed the mile-wide bay near midnight on 18 December, and after cutting through a line of pillboxes, ran straight into elements of the Quebec-based Royal Rifles of Canada, manning positions on the northwest quadrant of the island. Days of desperate fighting - bayonet charges and attacks on barren hills undertaken without promised artillery support - could barely slow the relentless advance down the east side of the island. Rifleman Jean-Paul Dallain spent the afternoon of 22 December hugging the ground on Stanley Mound. He knew that any explosion he could hear would not turn him into "pink mist," as had happened to Rifleman Little Jo Fitzpatrick a day earlier.

Toward dusk, "Smitty" Smith told Dallain that he was going to get the cigarettes he had left in his kit a short distance away. "Smitty got up on his haunches to have a better look ahead. A second later he fell just dead as they come," recalls Dallain, who, along with his comrades, was forced to withdraw south toward Stanley not long after.

It never occurred to Dallain or any other rifleman that their brigadier, Cedric Wallis, a career British officer, would accuse them in his war diary of what amounted to dereliction of duty and cowardice in the face of the enemy, or that he would decide against having their Canadian commander, Lieutenant-Colonel William Home, shot for staging "a bloodless mutiny" because doing so would require the shooting of other Canadian officers, all because Home had implored Wallis to pull the badly depleted and exhausted Rifles back to defensive positions. Veterans like Dallain and Sergeant Major George MacDonell, who led a successful attack on a Japanese gun emplacement on 20 December, bristle at Wallis's accusation that in the middle of the battle, "The men would wander off and pick up anything they fancied. Far too many slunk off to the rear . . . and were out of battle positions for long times." MacDonell, who, on Wallis's orders, led the doomed Christmas Day attack north of Stanley, rejects Wallis's criticism that the Canadians erred by attacking over open ground; there was no other way to reach their objective - aptly, a cemetery. Of the 120 men who attacked, only 19 remained who were neither killed, wounded or missing.

While Colonel Tanaka's men pushed south, colonels Shoji and Doi's men pushed west. Within hours of landing, they'd taken Jardine's Lookout, Mounts Butler and Nicholson (high points the British generals had neglected to garrison), and the Wong Nei Chong Gap, effectively cutting the island in two. Winnipeg Grenadiers died in all these places; Brigadier General Lawson perished in the gap. On the Lookout, Grenadier Tom Marsh miraculously survived the explosion that killed Lieutenant George Birkett and other men he'd gathered around a pillbox. Sergeant-Major John Osborn earned Canada's first Victoria Cross of the Second World War when he threw himself on a grenade as his platoon ran for their lives from a vastly superior force on Mount Butler.


By the time the garrison surrendered on Christmas Day, the Japanese had already committed numerous war crimes - raping and killing British and Chinese nurses, bayoneting wounded soldiers on their hospital cots, killing others whose hands were raised in surrender, and burning people to death in houses after they had surrendered. While the Japanese did not torture or kill any Canadians immediately after the surrender, war crimes began as soon as the Canadians began falling ill from dysentery caused by the unhygienic conditions in the camps to which they were taken, camps that lacked latrines and seethed with flies that feasted on the dead bodies of animals and men.

Men require at least 2,500 calories a day. Most days the Canadian soldiers were given fewer than 1,000; by the end of January most had lost 20 lbs. For a few days in June 1942, the Japanese exchanged extra food for hard labour. After than the food vanished but the labour remained, accompanied by beatings. The Canadians who were later drafted to Japan as slave labourers - in shipyards, coal mines and factories (where some worked next to white-hot kilns without any protection) were also beaten. In a POW camp in Japan, a sadistic guard forced Signalman George "Black" Verreault to do push-ups over a shovel of burning coals.

But the most hated guard was Kanao Inouye, nicknamed the "Kamloops Kid" for the town where he'd been born. A Japanese citizen by virtue of his father, Inouye was drafted into the Japanese Army in 1942 while studying in Japan. He was sent to Hong Kong to be an interpreter because of his perfect English. There, he beat many soldiers. He tied Grenadier Jim Murray to a pole, taped his mouth shut and shoved burning cigarettes up his nose. He told the Canadian soldiers, "All Canadians will be slaves as you are now! Your mothers will be killed. Your wives will be raped by our soldiers." Inouye was executed for treason in 1947.

One thousand nine hundred and ninety-six names are carved into the Hong Kong Memorial Wall in Ottawa. More than 500 of these are names of men who died in battle or in the POW camps; almost 100 died from diphtheria while the Japanese refused to provide the life- saving serum looted from captured Allied supplies. The 1976th name belongs to "Sergeant" Gander, a dog who gave his life to save a group of riflemen by picking up a Japanese grenade in his mouth and running until it exploded.

Start reading The Damned by Nathan M. Greenfield

Visit Nathan M. Greenfield's Facebook page

Watch the trailer for The Damned

Buy The Damned by Nathan M. Greenfield

From The Damned. Published by HarperCollins Canada. Copyright © 2010 by Nathan M. Greenfield. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
You said you didn't give a fuck about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr

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Old 11-11-2010, 10:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
Alien Anthropologist
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Location: Between Boredom and Nirvana
Thank you Daniel for starting this post! Veterans Day is an important Day of Rememberance.It's a time for us to remember our Veterans and those serving now. We should think of these soldiers more than once a year.

On ESPN today they are spending much of the day(s) in Germany on a base showing all the families and troops. The interviews are heartwarming & also filled with tears. I hope they will be showing troops from our other bases, too.

SO many different types of people willing to give their lives and do their best for our country. For Our Freedom.

Thank You All, loyal soldiers & medical teams....
we owe you our most sincere Thanks and Many Prayers of Support & Protection.
"I need compassion, understanding and chocolate." - NJB
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
...is a comical chap
Grasshopper Green's Avatar
Location: Where morons reign supreme
My husband is an Iraq war vet. My uncle is a Vietnam Vet. My grandpa landed at Normandy on D-Day and also served in the Korean War. He was seriously wounded in both conflicts. They are my heroes for serving selflessly; my hat is off to all our nations vets today.
"They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings; steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king"

Formerly Medusa
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
Mine is an evil laugh
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Location: Sydney, Australia
My dad is a Vietnam vet. It has only been recently that he had talked very much about it. 11/11 is really the secondary 'remembrance' day in Australia, though. We have our main day on 25 April (Anzac Day). This is the day that troops landed at Gallipoli in Turkey in WWI and was the first place where Australia (and New Zealand) lost a bunch of troops in WWI.
who hid my keyboard's PANIC button?
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
Her Jay
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Location: Ontario for now....
Any Canadians watch We Will Remember Them on CBC tonight? Just watching it now, quite possibly the saddest thing I've ever watched, but an excellent tribute to our men and women who have been killed in Afghanistan.
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acts, remembrance

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