Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Remembrance Day remembrance for those who have given their lives, and one who also gave me a name.

In the US, kids may learn the Pledge of Allegiance in grade Canada, we tend to learn "In Flanders's Fields".

When I was in Air Cadets, every year we would be down at the Cenotaph, Ottawa's War Memorial near Parliament Hill, and stand at attention for what seemed like hours on end (was really only minutes, of course), but to see people that would have been my grandfather's age crying, and smiling at the same time was a strange sight that will always stick with me.

Some years, I attend a Remembrance Day Ceremony at St. Patrick's HS, which inherited the tradition from St Pats Collage before it was swallowed by one of the bigger local Universities. My namesake died in WWII, and it's really something to hear your name, the name of a man I never knew, and to see hundreds of people pause momentarily after his name to honour him. It's a very powerful moment for me.

If things had been slightly different, I would have gone into the Canadian Air Force, studied geophysics with the aim of becoming a Canadian Astronaut...but that reality never was...I probably would have participated in the first Iraq War, and put my life on the line there.

So I honour my namesake, Farrell James McGovern, who died on his way over to Europe like many brave souls, knowing that every lost ship in the Atlantic, like the one my grandfather went down on, The SS Nerissa, enabled another to complete her journey and bring men and materials to fight the Nazis.

And every year, I tend to go through two or three poppies, as they do tend to fall off after a while. I'm actually on my fourth this year, and I have started using a Canadian Flag pin to replace the bent straight pin that is usually used to hold them on.

Unfortunately, I am too sick this year to attend any of the ceremonies, but I will probably be watching the one at the Cenotaph, like millions of other Canadians do each year.



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