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.
Excerpt from In Flanders Fields
by Lt.-Col. John McCrae
(1872 - 1918)
The Veterans Affairs timeline doesn't include it, but today you don't need a memory longer than a fortnight to remember fallen Canadian soldiers. We will hear nothing about the war for a few weeks, and then learn about the deaths of more of our soldiers. We see their pictures. As I page through the photos of the fallen, I wonder what they tell the recruits as they get photographed in front of the flag there. I don't think the army has a yearbook. An ID photo would be just the face. Do they know as they pose that this is the photo that will be released to the press if they are killed in action? Is there some other less macabre internal purpose to these nicely posed photos?
I can barely imagine flying that biplane, but I'd love to have a go, so long as I didn't have to go to war in one. I don't even like playing violent video games.
I like that they are carrying bicycles ashore for this landing. I wonder if there's anything that would be different about the modern airplane had the first airplane entrepreneurs not been bicycle mechanics.
The Veterans Affairs Canada does a good job explaining how and why Canadians observe Remembrance Day on November eleventh. It's a day to remember all soldiers who fought in all wars. The website also has a page full of photos to download, specifically for blogs and personal websites, but it's a little awkward to use because there are no thumbnails and not very descriptive names of the photo sets, just zipfiles. The photos on this page are from there, so I don't know who the people are, or where they were serving. I can tell by the filenames that the men with the horse and airplane are from the first world war, the beach landing is from the second world war and the colour photos are modern publicity stills.