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Thoughts on Remembrance Day

It is Remembrance Day 2021.

According to Wikipedia, it is a day to ‘honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty.

Sitting here, my head is a confused mixture of Rilla of Ingleside, The Singing Tree, In Flanders’ Fields, To the Fallen, The Piper, and Treasury of War Poetry. I have no words… only many thoughts and a great emotion.

I’m thinking of the Jem Blythes of the world. The young men who heard danger threatened their beloved country and rose to fight for their history, their people, their land. I’m thinking of the Jems who went ‘radiantly, as to a high adventure,’* who joked about the hardship and made light of the horror and sent back only good news to the folks back home.

There’s something across from us here that has got to be wiped out of the world, that’s all—an emanation of evil that would otherwise poison life for ever. … There were gardens over here—beautiful gardens with the beauty of centuries—and what are they now? Mangled, desecrated things! We are fighting to make those dear old places where we had played as children, safe for other boys and girls—fighting for the preservation and safety of all sweet, wholesome things.

L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

I’m thinking of the Walter Blythes of the world. The men who shrank in horror from the ugliness and depravity of battle, who longed for peace and beauty, but who went and fought to end the hideousness.

“It’s not death I fear—I told you that long ago. One cannot pay too high a price for mere life, little sister. There’s so much hideousness in this war—I’ve got to go and help wipe it out of the world. I’m going to fight for the beauty of life, Rilla-my-Rilla—that is my duty. There may be a higher duty, perhaps—but that is mine. I owe life and Canada that, and I’ve got to pay it.

(ibid)

I’m thinking of the Shirley Blythes of the world, who went ‘in a cool, business-like mood, as of one doing something, rather dirty and disagreeable, that had just got to be done.’*

I’m thinking of the Martin Nagguys of the world, who fought because it was their duty, but whose hearts were back home and whose eyes saw horrible things that scarred them forever.

“War is like a stampede, Jancsi. A small thing can start it and suddenly the very earth is shaking with fury and people turn into wild things, crushing everything beautiful and sweet, destroying homes, lives, blindly in their mad rush from nowhere to nowhere. A stampede, a mad whirlwind that sucks in men like those matching so bravely … and spit them out when they are… like that.” Two crippled men in uniform passed them on crutches, sad tired eyes staring vacantly ahead.

Kate Seredy, The Singing Tree

I’m thinking of the John McCraes of the world, who fought to save lives while others fought to kill… but who insisted on others coming forwards to hold the torch. I’m thinking of the multitudes of men who fought on, tired and broken. The men who ultimately laid down their lives for an Idea…

I’m satisfied. I’ll never write the poems I once dreamed of writing—but I’ve helped to make Canada safe for the poets of the future—for the workers of the future—ay, and the dreamers, too—for if no man dreams, there will be nothing for the workers to fulfil—the future, not of Canada only but of the world…. Yes, I’m glad I came, Rilla. It isn’t only the fate of the little sea-born island I love that is in the balance—nor of Canada nor of England. It’s the fate of mankind. That is what we’re fighting for.

Rilla of Ingleside

I’m thinking of what those men fought for. Freedom—love—beauty—peace. They gave everything they had. What are we doing with what they gave us?

When you go home,
Tell them of us and say,
‘For your tomorrows
These gave their today.’


Went the day well?
We died and never knew.
But, well or ill,
Freedom, we died for you.

John Maxwell Edmonds

*Rilla of Ingleside

Published by Katja L.

Hello! :) I'm Katja. I'm a Canadian bibliophile, book reviewer, writer, and child of God. I love too many things to name, but among them are chocolate, heirlooms, history, fancy handwriting, grammar & punctuation, laughter, tearjerking books, lists, organized bookshelves, pink roses, flowing skirts, hymns, and pretty much anything old-fashioned, beautiful, & classy.

6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Remembrance Day

  1. Oh man, all the feels Kats! Rilla of Ingleside was perfect to illustrate this. Walter and Jem ahh 😭👏🏻❤️ Great stuff! Olivia

    On Thu, Nov 11, 2021 at 5:02 PM Little Blossoms for Jesus wrote:

    > Katja L. posted: ” It is Remembrance Day 2021. According to Wikipedia, it > is a day to ‘honour armed forces members who have died in the line of > duty.’ Sitting here, my head is a confused mixture of Rilla of Ingleside, > The Singing Tree, In Flanders’ Fields, To t” >

    Liked by 1 person

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