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We are now in the full swing of the MBA and we are stressed out about the course material or how your assignment group is working together.  In our minds Nov 12th is a big day because that is when our assignments are due and at this time in our life, that seems to be all that really matters.

But there is a more important day that happens before that, November 11th, which is also known as Remembrance Day.   I saw my first poppy being sold last week as I was traveling the Scotland countryside enjoying the Highlands, Loch Lomond and whisky distilleries.  For me it brings back memories of my Grandpa and immediately purchased one to display it proudly on my chest above my heart.

As I started back into school this week I realised that most people in the program do not know about Remembrance Day, judging by the amount of questions regarding my poppy.  Understanding that this is not a common symbol for everyone, I decided to help explain my feelings behind it.  The poppy symbolisation has grown from a World War I poem “In Flanders Fields” that was written about the poppies that grew over some of the worst battlefields from the World Wars and symbolises the bloodshed in the wars.  Here is poem for you to reflect upon:

“In Flanders Fields” 

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

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.

I was lucky enough to have grown up to know my Grandpa as he barely survived the war.  But I am humbly thankful for this, as there were a lot of men and women whom did not.  He did not survive unscathed as his plane was shot down around Greenland and crashed into the sea.  Three men survived the crash and paddled to closest iceberg in a small rubber inflatable boat.  There they would endure the elements of the harsh North Sea for nearly a week with only a couple chocolate bars and whatever else they could salvage from the plane.  To imagine what they went through is impossible but amazingly they were rescued as they were able to signal a passing planer with a small pocket mirror they had salvaged.  My Grandpa faired the best of the three as he had only lost all of his toes and had hypothermia.  But they had all survived.

This story is only one of millions from the wars that have happened over the last 100 years, but it happy one as he lived long into his life to know his family.  The poppy symbolizes your support and remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our countries during times of war, conflict and peace.  For me, it is the least I can do to say thank you to my Grandpa and the others that served over the years.  They are the ones that have allowed us to come to a great place like Scotland to study and have no fears other than passing the MBA.

So please take a moment of silence to reflect on November 11th at 11:11am to remember.

Thanks Gramps.