Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne remembers those who sacrificed so much so that we are here today and able to remember.
Thanks to my friend Gail for posting this wonderful photo of her hometown.

Today at Remembrance services throughout the Commonwealth of Nations there will be the traditional observance of two minutes of silence as we recall those who died in wars past and, sadly, present. It is the tradition in Canada to signal the beginning of that period of remembrance by playing the "Last Post".

The "Last Post" is the signal of day's end when the duty officer returns from the inspection of the camp and quarters. The call "First Post" is used to mark the start of the tour of inspecting all the sentry posts at sunset. A call was sounded at each post and thus the "last post" signalled that the final inspection had been completed and the end of the military day had come.

The "Last Post" served another purpose at the end of a day of battle: it signalled to those who were still in the field - wounded or separated from their unit - that the fighting was done and to follow the call to find safety and rest.

Its symbolical meaning during the Remembrance Day ceremony is a two-fold:  first it can been seen as a call to the souls of the Fallen to return to safety and to assemble with their comrades at the Cenotaph and for the living it signals the beginning of a night vigil as we quietly remember and watch over them - and they over us.

The silence is broken by the sounding of the "Rouse" - the second of the morning calls. The first is the "Reveille" - that first sounding of the bugle meant to awaken the soldiers followed by a call to get them out of bed. The symbolic night vigil has ended and as the fallen return to their rest the living return to their duties of the day.  For us it is a return to our daily work, pleasures and problems.  For our military it is a return to safeguarding our country, our loved ones and serving abroad to help other nations and peoples.

A cadet bugler sounds "Last Post" in this memorial window at
Royal Military College, Kingston.  It was given by the class of 1934
in memory of their fallen classmates.
I have written posts for this day on three other Remembrance Days and rereading them I am made even more aware of the debt I owe to those who fought, died, were wounded in body or in spirit - all so that I could sit here today enjoying life in a country that for all its problems gives me freedoms that few others enjoy.
Lest We Forget - 2008

Lest We Forget - 2009

Lest We Forget - 2010
The video was created by Terry Lee on YouTube. He is an incredibly talented cornet player and it is a fitting tribute as we remember those who have died serving in all wars in all nations of the world.

11 November - 1918: World War I: Germany signs an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car in the forest of Compiègne, France.

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1 comment:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

A beautiful post, Willym! Have you ever heard of the audio recording made entirely out of the 2 minutes of silence taped at various Remembrance Day ceremonies? I think it was made in England a few years ago, if I remember correctly, and released on CD. Same kind of idea as John Cage's silent concerto.