Remembrance Day - Lest We Forget

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Remembrance Day is the day Australians remember those who have died in war.

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In 1918 the armistice that ended World War I came into force, bringing to an end four years of hostilities that saw 61,919 Australians die at sea, in the air, and on foreign soil. Few Australian families were left untouched by the events of World War I - 'the war to end all wars' most had lost a father, son, daughter, brother, sister or friend.

At 11am on 11 November we pause to remember the sacrifice of those men and women who have died or suffered in wars and conflicts and all those who have served during the past 100 years.
Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps who in May 1915 when after watching the death of a close friend in Belgium wrote the following poem:

In Flanders Field
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.

The wearing of the poppy to keep faith began when an American, Miss Moira Michael, read the poem "In Flanders Field" and was so greatly impressed that she decided always to wear a poppy to keep the faith. Miss Michael wrote a reply after reading "In Flanders Field" entitled "We Shall Keep the Faith":

We Shall Keep the Faith
Oh! You who sleep in Flanders fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew;
We caught the torch you threw;
And holding high we keep the faith
With those who died.
We cherish, too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led.
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the torch and poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead
Fear not that ye have died for naught
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

The Ode - The Ode or The Ode of Remembrance is taken from Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
 

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