The Poppy and the Cross

In Canada today, the two most dramatic symbols representing our society, our freedoms Рeven our very identity as Canadians Рare arguably:
– The poppy, which we wear with pride around Remembrance Day (November 11) annually, and…
– The Cross, which we revere every day of the year.

So it should be no surprise that BOTH symbols are under fervent attack by secular humanism and the rise of false religions, more than any other in Canada today.¬† For if the enemies of everything we hold dear simply strike at our foundations, this entire structure we call “Canada”…

…will come crashing to the ground.


Canadian troops at the Second Battle of Ypres, April 1915, and in Afghanistan, December 2008 (Credit: Canadian War Museum – http://www.warmuseum.ca)

THE POPPY

We are NOTHING as a country, if we choose to ignore the individual and corporate sacrifices, (in ‚Äúsweat, blood, toil and tears‚ÄĚ, as Winston Churchill once said), of the brave men and women who have served in our Canadian Armed Forces with honour for 152 years and counting.

On Remembrance Day annually (November 11), we pause for a moment at 11:11 AM local time, in whatever part of this HUGE country’s we may be in, to commemorate the moment when, on that date and time in 1918, the Great War – the “War to End All Wars”, the “Seminal Catastrophe”, or the “European War” as it was known, finally came to a close.

This was the first global war in world history.  Starting in Europe on July 28, 1914, and carrying on for 1,567 days until November 11, 1918.  70 million troops marched onto battlefields in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history.  It was also the deadliest, claiming 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians, as a direct result of the war, and over 20 million others from diseases like the Spanish flu, that claimed another 50 to 100 million, starvation and scattered genocides that followed.

Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France – where the names of the 11,285 Canadians who lost their lives in France and who had no known grave are recorded.

We wear a poppy to commemorate what our soldiers did there because it MATTERED.¬† Our young boys stepped into living Hell on hardened battlefields, that had equally hard names to pronounce and spell –¬† like Ypres, Festubert and Givenchy (1915), The Somme (1916), Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Lens, Passchendaele and Cambrai (1917).¬† In every situation, we did things beyond our training.¬† We successfully completed missions that France and England, who had 1,000 year old military histories, couldn’t do.¬† Canadian soldiers often did the unthinkable – at times, even the impossible – for 1,567 days (from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918), and we assisted the Allies in defeating the Central Powers, which included three Empires (German, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian), as well as¬†Bulgaria.

Little Canada was not even 50 years old when the war started.¬† Only 8 million residents in the whole country then.¬† ¬† We grew up into adulthood before the eyes of the world.¬† So foundational was our input in World War I that the last 100 days, from August 8 to November 11, 1918, are known today as “Canada’s Hundred Days”.¬† At one point during World War I, 7% of Canadians were in uniform, one of the highest participation rates by any army in any war in world history.¬† ¬†If the US had that size of army based on population, it would number 22 million.¬† If China did, their armies would have number 97 million.

The installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London, commemorating the centenary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War . (Credit: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)

We wear a poppy to show solidarity with the everyday Canadians who fought for us so long ago.¬† They were us.¬† A total of 619,636 Canadians enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the war, 424,000 served overseas – and 59,544 died during the war (51,748 as a result of enemy action, and 7,796 from “friendly fire” incidents, accidents and disease).¬† ¬†Hundreds of thousands more worked in the war effort back home, in administration, factories making munitions, equipment, tanks, planes, ships, uniforms, and growing and packaging food and medicine.¬† There wasn’t a familiy in Canada that was untouched by the war – there were likely few in the country that didn’t know someone overseas.¬† Many also knew someone who died there.

And this war was not as advertised – it did not “end all wars”.¬† In fact, just 21 years later, the world would once again be set on fire, with battles raging on three continents, as Hitler and his Nazi hordes attempted to conquer the world.¬† By the time the final bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki on August 8, 1945, and the two wars had finally ended in Europe, Africa and Asia, over 60 million people had died, including 25 million Russian civilians alone.

We wear a poppy to remember that Canadian soldiers changed the world.¬† And Canada had become a new symbol of freedom and hope in the world.¬† ¬†We sent over 1 million soldiers to Europe, many of whom didn’t come home for 6 years in World War II.¬† Tens of thousands didn’t come home at all.¬† We declared war on Hitler just one week after Great Britain and France did, on September 10, 1939.¬† We weren’t forced to – the King had told our government that we had free will to determine if this is was a cause we wanted to send our boys into harm’s way for.¬† We debated it in Parliament, we thought about it, we prayed about it.¬† And we did it.¬† Once we declared war on September 10, we had troops on the ground in Europe just 2 weeks later.¬† And our boys volunteered for it.¬† It took the US another 820 days before they joined the war, and their troops had to be drafted, even then, to do so.

We wear a poppy over our hearts, because we loved these young men, and because they gave all they had, with all their hearts, for us.  We honour the heroic contributions of our soldiers, over the last 1.5 centuries, to the building of our nation.  And to the freedom enjoyed by the entire Western world.  They were literally a force for good that stopped the forces of evil spreading across the globe.

Speaking of which – there are some misguided Cretans who introduced a rainbow poppy this year, just before British Armistice Day – like the gay community wasn’t getting enough attention during commemorations for our war dead?¬† Attempting to turn the poppy into a culturally misappropriated gay symbol is outrageous.

These are likely the same morons that wear a pink triangle as a symbol of connection with the LGBT community – not realizing that the symbol was introduced in the Nazi concentration camp system, along with the yellow star, to help sort out which prisoners were which.

It is also truly disgusting that some in the Muslim community boycott the sale of poppies because they consider it a symbol of “racism”, and some Legion branches in the UK stopped selling them in “certain areas” of Britain to avoid offense, though they have been selling them throughout the UK since 1921.¬† This vocal minority of Muslims try to extinguish the symbol altogether – yet they are hardly the spokespeople for racial tolerance in the world.

THE CROSS

In Canada, our freedoms are only authentically maintained when our people still hold dear to the sacrifices symbolized by the POPPY – and we must ‚ÄúNEVER FORGET‚ÄĚ to STAND AND SALUTE those who shed their blood for victories over dictators and despots.

However, that freedom only truly exists in Canada and indeed in EVERY nation on Earth, when the people hold EVEN MORE dear to the Sacrifice actualized by the CROSS of JESUS CHRIST – and we must ‚ÄúBE IN REMEMBRANCE‚ÄĚ to KNEEL, BOW AND CLING to the One who shed His blood for our final victory over the Devil and even Death itself.

I STAND to honor the anthem and the flag, and symbolically pin a poppy OVER MY HEART today, with pride and thankfulness.

But first…

I KNEEL and BOW to honor the Cross, and literally invite the Saviour of the World, Jesus Christ, to LIVE INSIDE MY HEART, with humility and thankfulness.

Because of the sacrifices of Canadians – on far off battlefields – many individual freedoms are enjoyed today by the Canadian people.

But without the Sacrifice of Christ – ‚Äúon a hill far away‚ÄĚ – WE HAVE NO FREEDOM AT ALL – either on this Earth or eternity to come.

‚ÄúSo if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.‚ÄĚ (John 8:36)

‚ÄúIt is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.‚Ä̬† (Galatians 5:1)

‚ÄúIn him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.‚Ä̬† (Ephesians 3:12)

‚ÄúI will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.‚Ä̬† (Psalm 119:45)

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By Shawn Jorgensen,  Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted:  November 10, 2019
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]

The Poppy STILL Matters

There are some today who believe that it’s time to put the poppies away, let go of the past, and stop commemorating Remembrance Day. ¬†Some believe it should no longer be a statutory holiday, others say it “glorifies War” – an activity that only the criminally insane would ever contemplate. ¬†

And for one giant global sports brand, apparently wearing a¬†poppy is considered nothing more than¬†a “political statement”.

Nothing could be further from the truth. ¬†The poppy still matters. ¬†Remembrance Day still matters. ¬†And they are both¬†worth fighting for – because they represent those who fought – and died –¬†for us.


The “controversial” poppy armband, now banned by FIFA’S players to wear on November 11. (Credit: The Guardian)

BREAKING NEWS:

The BBC reported on November 1 that Zurich, Switzerland-based FIFA, the international union of 211 member associations that governs worldwide football, turned down a request from England and Scotland for players to wear armbands featuring poppies when they face each other at Wembley on Armistice Day (Remembrance Day in Canada or Veterans Day in the United States), says the Scottish Football Association (SFA).

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, wear the poppy with pride in 2013. (Credit: The Mirror)

FIFA doesn’t allow any “political, religious or commercial messages” on shirts. The teams were allowed to wear black armbands embroidered with poppies in November 2011, after Prince William and British Prime Minister David Cameron appealed to the football governing body.

Certainly the poppy is not a religious or commercial message. ¬†So we’re left to believe it’s a ¬†political message? ¬†Surely World Wars I and II are much more all-encompassing than a debate about politics?

THIS Is Why Poppies Matter, FIFA

RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) men search the packs of the British dead for letters and effects to be sent to relatives after the Battle of the Somme, September 1916. (Credit: Imperial War Museum)

In World War I, more than 10 million soldiers on both sides Рincluding 6 million Allied troops Рwere killed on the battlefield.  Another 9 million civilians were killed in the crossfire. Europe buried an entire generation of young men, changing their landscape and history forever.

Great Britain (whom¬†FIFA believes doesn’t need to be wearing it’s history on its sleeve)¬†alone raised an army of 6 million troops out of their population of 46 million – and 900,000, or 11.5% of those, were killed. ¬†Overall, the death toll represented an astounding¬†2% of the overall population – the largest loss of life in the 1,000-year history of Britain from any conflict.

Canada’s contribution was even more priceless – thus perhaps why we are just as upset as our British brothers and sisters. ¬†Our little nation of 7 million somehow raised an army of 620,000 troops – that’s 1 out of every 11 people in the country.¬† Today, with 35.6 million people, an equivalent army would number 2.9 million people – or the entire populations of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland put together.¬†

img_1316-1But our¬†total losses on foreign battlefields with names like the Somme, Vimy, and Passchrndaele changed us forever –¬†with¬†67,000 killed and 250,000 wounded, nearly 40% of our armed forces ended up casualties of this Hell on earth,¬†representing 5% of our population!

Perhaps people in Zurich, Switzerland¬†where FIFA is located, a neutral country in both wars, cannot relate to the horrors of war.¬†¬†That’s an enviable position to be in for sure.

But for the nations that lost so much for the price of freedom…

…the same freedom that Switzerland enjoys without having lost any of their sons¬†for it;

…the same freedom that allows FIFA to make buckets of money in¬†a relatively wealthy, peaceful Europe today

…those nations who remember and honour that terrible price have a¬†RIGHT and a RESPONSIBILITY¬†to commemorate those¬†who freed our world of evil and tyranny, and who¬†laid the foundations for our Western greatness and freedoms with their bodies.

The installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' at the Tower of London, commemorating the centenary of Britain's involvement in the First World War . (Credit: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)
The installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London, commemorating the centenary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War . (Credit: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)

From a business perspective, it makes no sense for FIFA to¬†snub their¬†nose at an event that millions of people commemorate. ¬†Every year, more than 40 million poppies are sold in the United Kingdom alone to support the Legion.¬† 40 MILLION.¬† In fact, I could even go one step further and say that to ignore or to even insult the memories of the fallen dead within Wembley Stadium on November 11 will¬†have negative repercussions on FIFA for a long time¬†to come.¬† FIFA is making¬†a political statement here by banning the poppies¬†– they are saying that the millions who died don’t matter, that¬†their¬†sacrifice isn’t as important as corporate image, or as necessary¬†as insulting some modern leftwing pacifists’ delicate sensitivities.

We, from both sides of that terrible War, know better.¬†¬†FIFA also doesn’t seem to recognize that a¬†new generation of school children are finding a new interest in Remembrance/Veterans/Armistice Day, and attendance has never been better.

Why? ¬†Because we¬†all need to believe in heroes, more than ever before.¬† The next generation needs to see¬†peace on Earth modelled for them. ¬†They need to be taught that sacrifice isn’t a wasted effort, that “I” and “self” can be our greatest threat.

We all need to hope and strive to never see war like this ever again between nations.  And a people that forget their history are doomed to repeat it.

The poppies of Flanders Fields, Belgium

The poppy is incredibly symbolic in this commemoration.¬† When the ground was ripped apart in Europe after World War I, it was noticed on Flander’s Fields in Belgium, an especially bloody battlefield, that equally blood-red poppies were just about the only plant that would grow anywhere afree¬†– and grow they did, like a weed.¬† The symbolism wasn’t lost on the Canadian physician, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, who penned the words we all know so well:

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

Citizens of the United Kingdom, and football players of England and Scotland, disobey the rules.¬† Let’s not “break faith with those who died”. ¬†Wear your poppies with pride. ¬†These men and women have earned your honour.¬† They have earned your commemoration.

So we “Take up our quarrel with the foe.” ¬† FIFA, their¬†young players have earned all of our respect for their patriotism and desire to do the right thing. ¬†We hope they all come to the game wearing their poppies, violating your rules.

Signs like this appear in Premier League stadiums annually

You can even fine them if you wish – an outraged world will happily pay it. ¬†Unlike American football players who can’t seem to even stand for their anthems, these young men simply want to show respect.

Maybe you should return the favour to them. ¬†You should know from history that the United Kingdom doesn’t get told what to do, nor will they forsake their dead heroes for you.

I anticipate¬†the stands in Wembley¬†Stadium¬†to be a sea of red. And if you don’t change your opinion before November 11, you may find your global financial statements will be a similar color.

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted November 2, 2016
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