Time out for Remembrance: 11:11:11 on 11/11/2011

Do you ever have those times when you get so busy you almost forget to breathe?

In a country like Australia, you get used to covering a lot of ground to get from A to B and to C. Since arriving in Sydney from Bangkok a week ago, I’ve spent most of my time in a car. My husband and I are in a ‘transition phase’: living out of suitcases and trying to tie up a lot of loose ends in different places, in what never feels like enough time. I get quite breathless.

Having both hands gripped on the wheel has meant I haven’t spent time taking pictures, let alone sorting and processing them. But, as I’ve driven along winding coastal highways, clinging to cliffs above the ocean; over twisting mountain roads in rain and hail; and across dirt tracks and tarmacs in the middle of rolling farming lands, I’ve had the company of my thoughts – and some good  ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) radio.

The radio reminded me that: not only is it Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day) in Commonwealth and other Allied countries to commemorate the official end of World War I – “the war to end all wars”; but at 11:11 in the morning, we have the only date with a 12-digit palindrome comprised of a single digit: 11:11:11 on 11/11/11. Numerologist call it a “high vibrational day”, which is meant to be a good thing.

In any event, it is a good reason to stop – and breathe – and reflect on those who have fallen on foreign shores.

Red poppy on green grass

Wild Poppy: Remembrance of Days (and Wars) Past

In Flander’s 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.

– Captain John D. McCrae,  3 May 1915,  Flanders

Composite: the Allied Cemetery at Kanchanaburi, headstone and photo of Australian Infantry Corporal, WWWood

WWII Remembrance: Australian Infantry Corporal, W.W.Wood and his Headstone, Kanchanaburi Thailand

Text: Lest we Forget


Perhaps if we reflect, we can change things.


(My thanks to William W Wood’s grandchildren.)

  • Signe Westerberg - November 10, 2011 - 10:02 pm

    Welcome home -ish…

    Agreed on several counts, good Aussie Radio ABC…time to breath but mostly a pause for thought, in our case on how lucky we are to live as we do in the most beautiful of countries, enjoying many many freedoms and a lifestyle the envy of nearly all… at 11am I will stop the phones, I won’t make it to the war memorial here in Liverpool, but I will pause, I will remember and I will give thanks to the all to many who died making all I said before possible… lest we forget.ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - November 10, 2011 - 10:13 pm

      Good morning, Signe.
      I must say, I’ve had my dollar-a-day, or whatever it costs, from old Auntie ABC this week! I put over 3000km on the rental car, and most of it with quality listening. 🙂
      Hard to believe how lucky we are, isn’t it? I also find hard to believe that “we” don’t learn – the conflicts continue.
      (I fixed the noted spelling error.)ReplyCancel

  • Signe Westerberg - November 10, 2011 - 11:11 pm

    I guess learning from our mistakes becomes someone elses problem… buck passing at its worst. thanks for fixing envy… and Aunty does keep us informed and mostly without rhetoric of the commercial stations.. and little political bias.
    see you soon I hope…ReplyCancel

  • Signe Westerberg - November 10, 2011 - 11:12 pm

    ps… I stole your poem… I’ve posted it on my site.. tksReplyCancel

  • Anna :o] - November 12, 2011 - 2:23 am

    Sadly we never learn, hopefully one day we will.

    Anna :o]ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - November 12, 2011 - 10:09 am

      Hi Anna,
      Nice of you to visit! Sad that nothing seems to change.
      I popped into your site – nice work! I was born in Broadgreen, Liverpool. How’s that for a small world? 😀ReplyCancel

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