Oil on canvas (2012)
Many Canadians have relatives who have served in major wars around the world, but I would argue that Remembrance Day has special significance to those related to current members of the Canadian Forces. Imagining friends or loved ones being deployed overseas, as was often encouraged during public school Remembrance Day ceremonies, required nothing more than to simply open my eyes and look around. As an army brat, every day is Remembrance Day.
Lt. Col. John McCrae’s legendary poem captured the imagination of an entire nation. The poppies blowing among the crosses are friends of our fallen soldiers, standing guard of the bodies as the dead move on. These flowers have always seemed so surreal, so much so that it didn’t even occur to me that poppies could exist outside of a wartorn countryside. Imagine, then, my surprise at seeing a poppy at a track in France during a training camp…and then again trackside at a competition in Italy, and then again in Holland. It has been comforting to encounter such familiar artifacts while far away from home!
Lest we forget.