As I walk down the street, stand in line at a check out, or sit down to eat at a restaurant, I see poppies. Not in vases or pots and not in the ground in Canada in November, instead I see them blooming, on shirts, jackets, hats, purses, and I think in the hearts of those who wear them.

Poppies are the symbol of remembrance, and whenever I see them I think of the poem I learned as a child.

“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

And it seems that children continue to be taught it; type ‘Flanders Fields’ into ‘You Tube’ and you will find many youth choir performances of this poem today.

Seeing poppies worn on people makes it more personal for me; as the elderly lady walks by perhaps it’s the son who never came home or for the young women it’s her sweetheart, for the child, an older sibling. Whatever our thoughts, feelings, or beliefs about war I think most of us would agree on our planet’s need for peace.

As we remember those who have already made sacrifices let’s ask ourselves, how can we, one person at a time be change agents for peace? Perhaps it’s as simple as deciding that this November 11 we are going to foster peace in every encounter we have that day; talk to a stranger, get to know one of our neighbor, volunteer at a Veterans Hospital, check out organizations that foster peace and choose one to support. Perhaps it could be having that difficult conversation we’ve been putting off, maybe it’s letting go of having to be right. People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care, cliché perhaps but it’s true; people tend to only remember how we make them feel.

We just experienced a shift toward hope and anything is possible so this November 11 and beyond let’s choose to make Peace a part of who we are.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world…” – Gandhi


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