At the Library
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row…”
This famous poem by Canadian doctor John McRae, a World War I veteran, is recited every year during Remembrance Day ceremonies. “Flanders Fields” reference to the red poppies led to them being a symbol of fallen soldiers and to the memory of those who have served. For more information on Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae take a look at “A Crown of Life: the World of John McCrae” by Dianne Graves.
Right now you can find copies of the book “Passchendaele: Canada’s Triumph and Tragedy on the Fields of Flanders: an Illustrated History” by Norman Leach available for free at the Four Fathers Library to anyone who would like to have one. These books were donated to the library by the Adopt-a-Library Literacy Program.
In addition to that we have a number of books and DVDs that speak to the importance of Remembrance Day. To learn about those who have served from Nova Scotia check out “The Fighting North Novies” documentary on DVD. It tells the story of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders regiment in World War II, including landing on Juno Beach and fighting in Normandy. After watching the documentary take a look at “Merry Hell: the Story of the 25th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919” by Robert Clements for some more regimental history.
One of the most difficult things to understand is how wars come about, and these resources attempt to explain: “July 1914: Countdown to War” by Sean McMeekin clarifies the various actions and decisions that led to World War I. “Europe’s Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914” by David Fromkin is another that tries to pinpoint the start of the so-called War to End All Wars. “Munich, 1938: Appeasement and World War II” by David Faber exposes the political machinations that led to World War II.
If you’re trying to explain Remembrance Day to children try the following resources:
“A Poppy is to Remember” by Heather Patterson discusses the importance of the poppy as the symbol of Remembrance Day. This book is targeted at a younger audience but there is great information about the poppy and the poem “Flanders Fields” to interest older kids and adults. Jill Foran’s book “Remembrance Day” is part of the Canadian Holidays series and it provides an introduction to what Remembrance Day is and how it is observed. There are also books on the specific wars or actions such as “World War I, 1914-1918” by Heather Kissock, “Dieppe: Canada’s Darkest Day of World War II” by Hugh Brewster, or “Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees” by Deborah Ellis.
These are just a few of the titles that we have to help us remember and try to understand the sacrifices made by those who serve; you’ll find many more on display at the library.
Please make the time on November 11th to honour and remember those who have served and those who have fallen.
Lest we forget.
Denise Corey is the chief librarian of the Cumberland Public Libraries.