Day 188 of Colourisation Project – November 11
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
Today marks the 96th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War. Known as ‘Remembrance Day’ in Australia, it is an occasion to commemorate and remember all Australians who have died as a result of war by observing one minute’s silence at 11 am.
In Australia and other allied countries, including New Zealand, the UK, Canada and the United States, 11 November was originally known as Armistice Day, specifically to remember those who died in World War One.
In 1920, the commemoration was given added significance when it became a funeral, with the return of the remains and entombment of an unknown soldier from the battlefields of the Western Front. This tradition of entombing unknown soldiers has continued over the following decades.
Today’s striking portrait is of an unknown soldier. We don’t even know if he died or survived the war. We do know he had this official portrait taken most likely before heading off to war in 1914.
“We will remember them. Lest we forget.”
After World War Two, it was renamed Remembrance Day to commemorate those who were killed in both World Wars. Today we reflect on the loss of Australian lives from all wars and conflicts, including Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and more.
The red remembrance poppy with its brilliant red colour is a symbol for the blood spilled in war and owes its origin to the poem, In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by Major John McCrae, a Canadian military doctor and artillery commander in Flanders, where poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I.
John McCrae died in northern France in the last year of the war.
For me today is, as it has been every other year, an occasion to remember all those who have lost their lives in war and like every other year, it is also a stark reminder of the futility of war, highlighted even more so by the fact that Australia today announced that special forces are moving into Iraq.
In Flanders Fields by Major 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.”