Sunday, November 6, 2011

Simply Sunday - Remembrance Day Edition

November 11th is observed throughout the British Commonwealth as Remembrance Day.  It is also Veterans Day in the United States. 

During the ten years that I lived in Canada, I gained an appreciation for the deep, heartfelt, but reserved and reverent patriotism of Canadians.  As in Britain, Remembrance Day is marked with solemn observances in order that those who died in uniform, along with the sacrifices they – as well as all soldiers – made on behalf of their nation, their communities and their families, are not forgotten. 

During the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day, rare was the person who was not wearing an artificial poppy from the Canadian Legion in their lapel or on their coat.  This, of course, hearkens to the poem written by Canadian Lt-General John McRae.

Commonly heard at ceremonies throughout Canada as well as Britain and the entire Commonwealth, is a lone piper playing “Flowers of the Forest” – a traditional lament for the dead.

Of course, I also want to honor American veterans of not only World War I, but also of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have also chosen, however, to honor those men whom history never knew or has forgotten – the gay men who served, lived, loved and, sometimes, died.  On this Remembrance Day, on this Veterans Day, may we recognize the history that is largely unknown and untold, but yet is there, inscribed in the hearts of the men.

Come, my Friend,
From out the silence
Of the seas
And years
Of separation,
Come, and put
Your hand in mine,
Bend down your ear
To hear
Heart beat
To heart,
And feel
The love
That is
Forever thine!

There have been
Smiles, tears
Of vain regret –
Fears not justified,
And yet –
Throughout this time
I doubted not
That you would come,
And claim
That which is yours,
Your heritage.

Kind Destiny
That we should meet,
And meeting
That bond of fellowship
So rare,
So beautiful,
Uplifting mind,
Heart and soul
To heights of true

It matters not
That tides may flow,
Spring, summer
Autumn, winter
Come, and go
Love burns,
A flame
Of all time,
Space, circumstance,
Each of us
In glory,
And in tenderness,
For all eternity!

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