Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In remembrance: Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day, the day that we remember those who have fought for us in the armed forces. This day always has special meaning for since both my dad and my uncle fought in WWII, and my oldest brother was in the Honor Guard watching over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary. Unfortunately I have to work today, instead of having a day off (however, I now have 2 floating holidays that I can use before the end of the year!).

Here are some photos from Remembrance Sunday which is the British equivalent of our Veteran's Day. The holiday is really to celebrate the end of World War I aka The Great War. When I was in London in college, I made my way down to the Mall to see the laying of the wreaths on the Cenotaph by the Royal Family. It was surprisingly moving and packed with people hoping for a glimpse of the Princess of Wales (this was a few months after Prince Harry was born).

The Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex (wife of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex)

Prince William, Prince Edward, and the Duke of Edinburgh (hard to believe he's 87 years old.)

The Queen laying a wreath at the Cenotaph

It is a custom to wear poppies on Remembrance Sunday. Paper poppies are sold in the weeks before the day by the Royal British Legion, in order to raise money to support ex-servicemen. According to Wikipedia: "The popp's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. A Frenchwoman, Anna E. Guérin, introduced the widely used artificial poppies given out today. Some people choose to wear white poppies, which emphasises a desire for peaceful alternatives to military action.

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