While in the United States we mourn our military dead on Memorial Day and celebrate our military veterans today, on Veterans' Day, elsewhere 'tis a more solemn occasion.
Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month," in accordance with the Armistice. WikipediaWorld War I.
The "War to end all wars".
The Great War.
The war which soaked the fields and forests of Europe with the blood of an entire generation. The war which led directly to the even larger bloodbath of World War II.
Who remembers these places today? Very few.
But these are not simply events in some dry history text. No, these were places where thousands died. Yes, thousands.
One of them was my paternal grandmother's favorite uncle. My Father's namesake.
Killed in action in the autumn of 1918. Mere days before the guns fell silent. Mere days before that 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
To those of you out there who remember this day for a different reason than we Americans, note that there is at least one of us Yanks who remembers with you. For much the same reason.
To my great-great-uncle, Robert Bain. Died for King and Country. Died facing the foe like many a Highlander before (and yes, since).
Here's to you, Uncle Robbie.
Here's to your entire generation.