I won't claim to come from a large military family - my aunt and her partner both served in administrative roles and my grandpas served in the World Wars, although I really know nothing about what they did and sadly their medals and other memorabilia is long gone. I myself was an Air Cadet for several years as a teen and participated in many wreath laying ceremonies as color guard and other ceremonial positions (I have some great Air Cadet stories but I will save those for a more appropriate time) and I was also part of choirs and groups who sang and/or recited In Flanders Fields (see below) on many occasions so I still feel a strong connection to November 11.
Last year, on Dec 23rd, one of BF's best friends brother was killed in Afghanistan while serving our great country and I will never forget how we found out. It was Boxing Day and we were at his parents house watching Hockey Night in Canada when at the intermission Don Cherry did his usual salute to the troops and honor to those who had been killed in the past week. He gets very emotional when he has to report a soldiers death and when he said Lt. Andrew Nuttall I just stared at the TV thinking "please don't let that be J's brother" over and over. BF didn't say anything for what seem like hours, but after a minute or so he confirmed that it was indeed his brother. I didn't know him, BF had met him once or twice, but it was still a hard pill to swallow knowing that his best friend was spending Christmas dealing with this loss. It has been a rough year for the Nuttall family and I'm sure the Christmas is never going to be the same for them again. I know that the military has been taking good care of them and they have been involved in several ceremonies over the year like this one, so I feel like the least I can do is get my butt out of bed early and get out to one of the services and show some support for those who are missing their loved ones and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrfice.
In Calgary, the services are here (taken from Metro Calgary) :
The Military Museum, located at 4520 Crowchild Tr. SW, will host a service at 10:45 a.m.
A service will be held at the Naval Museum of Alberta at 1820–24th St. SW, which will begin at 11 a.m.
The Jubilee Auditorium, at 16 Avenue and 14 Street NW, will also host a ceremony at 10 a.m.
A ceremony and wreath laying at Central Memorial Park will begin at 11 a.m.
After the services you can hit up a Legion or the Miners Club and get smash faced with the Veterans and their families. What? That's what they do and God Bless 'em for it!
In Flanders Fields By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army
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.