Remembrance Day Tribute - Nov. 7, 2013

I rise today on behalf of the Liberal caucus to pay tribute to Remembrance Day. On that day Canadians honour and remember our veterans and all who have served Canada during war, armed conflict and peace and commemorate their sacrifices.

The other common name for today is “Armistice Day,” which marks the date and time where armies stopped fighting in World War I on November 11 at 11:00 a.m. in 1918 — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Over 100,000 Canadian soldiers died in the First and Second World Wars.

Throughout the world, the poppy is associated with remembrance and symbolizes the memory of those who died in order that we may be free.

During the First World War, Flanders in Belgium saw some of the most concentrated and bloodiest battles. There was complete devastation: buildings, roads, trees and natural life simply disappeared. Where there were once farms and homes, there was now a sea of mud, a grave for the dead where men still fought and lived.

The only other living thing that survived was the poppy. Flowering each year with the coming of the warm weather, the poppy brought life, hope, colour and reassurance to those who were still fighting. John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields, may be the most famous one of the Great War.

The day before he wrote it, one of his closest friends was killed and buried in a grave decorated with only a simple wooden cross.

Wild poppies were already blooming between the crosses that marked the graves of those who were killed in battle. Unable to help his friend and other fallen soldiers, John McCrae gave them a voice through In Flanders Fields.

We wear the poppies before and on Remembrance Day in memory of those and to show our respect and support for our Canadian troops and veterans and commemorate their sacrifices. Remembrance Day services will be held all across Canada and will attending the one being held in Dawson City.

Lest we forget, Mr. Speaker.