Remembrance Day

"Lest we forget……"

At my Rotary meeting this week we had a talk from a reverend who had previously spent 20+ years in the military, like his father before him and his father before that – even his son had followed suit. You wondered why – when he shared the story of a boy soldier wounded several times at Dieppe you understood – it was his father.

I do not beleive there was a dry eye in the room that morning, and certainly my day was profoundly affected as his 'story' went over and over in my head.
I hugged my son tighter that evening when he came home from school and I gave thanks for the sacrifices my father made in WW2 and my grandfather in WW1.

In Flanders Fields

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.

– John McCrae

1 thought on “Remembrance Day”

  1. When I took my MBA at Queen’s through 1998-2000, the program included a session in Europe. Part of the trip included a visit to Dieppe led by a former General who was then teaching at the university. At first I wondered why are we visiting these old war locations and what does that have to do with my business education? While I stood near the water’s edge the professor described what it was like for a group of 18 to 20 year olds to scramble across this beach of softball sized rocks, nauseous from their trip across the channel, carrying packs heavier than my luggage … all of the while being shot at from cliffs which stood like an apartment building over them. They were frightened, and many did die not knowing that the opposing forces had already learned of their arrival before they were to breach the shore. I asked my friend Robin who had graduated from the Royal Military College what was taught about this battle at RMC. Robin explained that it was an important case study in responsible leadership, that today, the senior officers would have placed a higher value on the lives and safety of the men under their command than to blindly follow an ill-conceived plan doomed to failure. It was then that I realized why I was standing on that beach and the lesson to be learned. I understood that my role as a leader in business involves a responsibility which extends beyond profit margins. I realized that we as leaders have a responsibility to our people and the world we live in, an understanding that responsibility and ethics are as critical as any ability to analyse and execute.

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