At the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, each year, time pauses to remember all who fought, died and have been affected by war. It was a very special privilege for me to offer a prayer on behalf of the island community on the day, and also to honour my grandfather, James Henry Wade, who fought with Montgomery in North Africa. Here is the prayer, and McCrae’s famous poem, recited on the day.
Remembrance Day Prayer
Our Father in heaven, we come before you today, the Lord whose love reaches to the heavens and whose faithfulness and justice are as wide as the ocean’s tide. In this time of remembrance, we want to give thanks to all those who did not hold their lives dear only for themselves, but laid them down for their friends. We remain deeply moved and thankful, even as we mourn their loss.
We also pray today for all those who have been touched by the trauma of war, who experience the pain of loss, no matter whose side of the battle they were on. And for those who daily carry the wounds and scars of sacrifices made; for families and children, the ones who are lonely and scared. Only you can provide the hope, the comfort and the lasting security we need Lord, which is why we come before you in prayer.
We pray for all the Canadian men and women who will be drawn even today, by duty into the world of violent conflict. Please give them Godly courage, protect those who are in danger, give wisdom to those who lead, heal those who are wounded in body or spirit, and those who are far away, please bring them home safely.
Your son Jesus taught us to love our enemies and that it is the Peacemakers who are the blessed ones, because they will be called the sons and daughters of God. So Lord, you who know the heart of all people, be gracious according to your wisdom, let justice and mercy prevail wherever possible, and bring a swift and peaceful resolution to all enmity.
We pray these things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
In Flanders Field
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.
Written by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae (Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps) after watching the death of a close friend in Belgium in May 1915. McCrae did not see the end of the war. He died 28 January 1918.