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Remembrance Day

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

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.

Up here in Canada we call it Remembrance Day and it is the most Canadian of all holidays. I have never worked in a company where at 11 am on Sept 11th, we do not bow our heads for a minute in remembrance of those who have died in our wars. Some folks think that Canadians are pacifists, but rather it is that Canadians think there has to be a damn good reason to go to war. We avoided becoming involved in most of Britain’s colonial wars, and we have avoided most of America’s adventures as well, since we fell into Washington’s orbit.

Canada is famous for having invented peacekeeping, but again, we’ve found that the boundary between what makes a good peacekeeper, a good peacemaker, and a good soldier is not so different as some other countries think. Especially in counterinsurgency operations, the best policy is usually to talk first and shoot second rather than to shoot first and ask questions second.

I trust I will be forgiven a moment of Canadian chauvinism when I say that I think the world would be better of if everyone had the same attitude – questions first, guns second even in war; and before war a sincere belief that war really is the last resort, not the first.

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Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh was the Managing Editor of FireDogLake and the Agonist. His work has also appeared at Huffington Post, Alternet, and Truthout, as well as the now defunct Blogging of the President (BOPNews). In Canada his work has appeared in and BlogsCanada. He is also a social media strategy consultant and currently lives in Toronto.

His homeblog is at