The Bos Lady and I, like thousands of River City residents and hundreds of thousands of Canadians, attended a Remembrance Day ceremony. The ceremony in front of City Hall was simple…but soulfully moving in its simplicity.


On a still and crisp autumn day,

November 11/11, a day to remember,

A thousand people (perhaps two)

Gather on Churchill Square,

Standing around the cenotaph to honour “our glorious dead”.


The bagpiper plays that beautiful hymn

Of a loving father who abides always and ever

With those who are hurt or dying or dead.

Beautiful words sung and passed

From generation to generation; everlast:


 Abide with me; fast falls the eventide

The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.


And then a prayer is said and heard

With ear and heart,

A well-spoken word not only for those

That came not home

But too for those who came back not whole,

And for their loves and lovers, too:

“Be with those who are injured or broken” is heard in prayer

By our collective heart, which breaks at this.


When Amen is said we breathe once again

And clear our throats and blink away shiny eyes.

And now the bugler plays that lonesome sound:

The Last Post

The call to the fallen,

Those “dead in the gas and smoke and roar of guns,

Dead in a row with the other broken ones.” *


Then the Rouse and then the quiet,

Two minutes of silence,

Two minutes to remember

Lest we forget.

And the throng gathered today is silent,

Silent and still;

Respect seldom seen.


Now wreaths are lain

To remember, commemorate

And cherish those who gave all.

And while the wreaths are lain

The soldiers on their instruments

Play hymns beloved and treasured:


O God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast

And our eternal home.


The wreaths are laid with reverence and care

By families and friends and dignitaries

In honour of sons and fathers and husbands.

Soldiers salute, stand at guard,

And then a wee girl in white lays a wreath for her daddy

And our hearts go out to the wee girl in white.

Our hearts go out to the wee girl

In white.


Now the wreath-filled processions cease

And soldiers begin their exit march.

And while they do to applause all around

The bagpiper plays those amazing sounds:


Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

I have already come;

‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far

and grace will lead me home.


Lest we forget. Amen.



(* from the poem The Last Post by Robert Graves)


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