“Lest We Forget” – What does it all mean?

November 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

Wreaths of artificial poppies used as a symbol...

Image via Wikipedia

Lest We Forget – three words renown across most countries to show our remembrance of those who have fought, and those who have died fighting for freedom. It means that we will never forget. In Canada, we honour the day by wearing poppies, a flower that bloomed throughout the fields of battle grounds in France and Belgium during World War I. The wearing of the symbol of the poppy was made popular due to the poem, Flanders Field, written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae after witnessing his friend and fellow soldier struck down in the midst of battle in WWI.

Flanders Field
by John McCrae

In Flanders Field 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 Field.


Just as Americans do on November 11th of each year, Commonwealth countries do the same, but on a day referred to as Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Sunday, and/or Poppy Day, in lieu of the American “Veteran’s Day.” The day is meant as a day of recognition, and for me, the three words Lest We Forget speak what this day is truly meant to symbolize, and that is that we will never forget our history.


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