Wednesday, November 11, 2009


National War Memorial, Ottawa Canada

I have met many Canadian war veterans in my work as they are an aging group of people, their numbers thinning as we move a half century and more past the big wars we memorialize today. Many of them suffered physical and emotional ailments related to the war and even if they are difficult or unpleasant patients, I respect their contribution to the peace we enjoy here today. One of our patients dressed in full uniform this week and went to a special luncheon where he was to recite a poem. He wore his medals with pride and we were proud of him too.

Overnight Vigil November 10-11, 2009

I am working today and cannot attend the outdoor Remembrance Day parade and service at 11:00 AM. So last night The Becka and I went to our city's cenotaph for a while and watched the young cadets who stood vigil through the entire night. Night time must have had a special horror in times of war, the hours long, the air cold and the enemy unseen. I took night pictures of our national war memorial in Ottawa earlier this year with the same thoughts in mind.

Ottawa, Ontario

The darkness of war continues to plague our world and conflicts claim the lives of young men and women who have dedicated themselves to serve and protect our nation. Today we remember and honour their sacrifice.
The Royal Canadian Legion sponsors an art and poetry contest each year for students across the country and encourages them to reflect on Remembrance Day and its meaning to them. This poem was a winner in 2005.


I stare at my feet in a moment of silence
And strain to cry for those who were lost.
Yet no tears come, and I struggle to understand
Why I do not cry like the veteran next to me.

I try to imagine the young men of our country
Leaving home to fight the unknown.
I try to envision families broken apart
By the terror that is war.
I try to picture someone close to me
Having to kill.
I try to imagine the crushing pain
When a loved one does not return home.

Soon the reveille sounds and I awake from
my thoughts.
I am moved but have shed no tears.
I look to the veteran next to me and see the
sorrow in his eyes.

He gives me a teary smile and takes my hand.
Only then do I realize that he has seen
unspeakable things.
And fought so I could only imagine them.

Nicole Jowett, 2005
Winnipeg – Charleswood Junior High


  1. What a mystery is war--it brings out such bravery and heroism in the youth who are called on to fight them.
    And war is so cruel; it takes from us our young.
    We wish for peace, and yet seem unable to think of other ways to address grievances than war.

  2. This is a beautiful tribute to those who have served and those who have given their lives for their countries in wars past and present.

  3. Wow, very awesome and powerful poem! Thanks for this post!

  4. I love that poem. Great tribute to the brave men who fought for all of us.

  5. Very poignant poem and haunting pictures that cause you to take a moment and think...even if you already did at the llth hour. What are the right words to say to these men and women??...I guess..Thank You.

  6. This is an awesome post, Ruth. I definitely enjoyed the poem that won the contest last year. Lest We Forget.


  7. Many people ignore today. But I always take time to think about our soldiers from then and those of today. Not just today, I think about them all the time.
    A friend of the family was killed in Afghanistan 3 years ago. Now rememberence day is even more important. Today it weigh heavy in my heart as I remember Anthony, but today I also said my final goodbye to his father, who passed away on the weekend. Thanks for sharing and remembering.

  8. That overnight vigil must be hard on the kids. Good for them.

  9. "And fought so I could only imagine them" - ah, how can we ever fully thank them, and yet, we must always try.

  10. Thanks to all who commented. I am so impressed by this poem, written by such a young person. My condolences, Cheryl, to the friends of your family.


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