November 10, 2020

Lest We Forget – Remembrance Day – November 11, 2020

Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.—on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a moment of silence to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace. We remember the more than 2,300,000 Canadians who have served and continue to serve, and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The poppy is the enduring symbol of Remembrance Day. These flowers were in abundance on the Western Front where many battles were fought during the First World War. Poppies are referenced in the opening lines of the World War I poem In Flanders Fields, where they grew among the graves of war victims near Ypres, Belgium.  The poem was written by Canadian physician John McCrae on 3 May 1915 after witnessing the death of his friend and fellow soldier the day before. To read the entire poem, please see below.

The July 5, 1952 edition of the Canadian Weekend Picture Magazine published the short story titled A Hero Comes Home by Morris Cooper, with a beautiful and sorrowful illustration made by Oscar Cahén where the poppy figures again. The illustration is shown above; to  read the entire short story, please open the PDF listed below.

Details regarding the upcoming exhibition Discovering Oscar Cahén, a collaborative exhibition between TrepaniérBaer Gallery and Feheley Fine Arts, opening Thursday, November 26, 2020 at Centre Space in Feheley Fine Arts in Toronto are forthcoming.

Image Credit:

Oscar Cahén
A Hero Comes Home, 1952
India ink, watecolour on high-art illustration board
25″ x 17″

***

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae

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.