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Reflections of Remembrance Day: Baillie’s lovely poem

A beautiful Remembrance Day poem was written by young Baillie St. Jacques of Assiniboia
Assiniboia Remembrance Day6
Baillie St. Jaques read a Remembrance Day poem.

ASSINIBOIA - A beautiful poem written by young Baillie St. Jacques of Assiniboia, deeply touched the hearts of everyone present at this year’s Remembrance Day services in Assiniboia. You’ve probably seen Baillie.

She works at the Southland Co-op grocery store here in town. She has probably even helped you with your groceries if you had too many to carry out by yourself. Baillie is a wonderful, thoughtful, caring, and kind young lady. She’s also an aspiring young poet! Here are the first two verses of her beautiful poem: “A Soldier’s Journey” which she finally got to read at this year’s Remembrance Day service in front of town hall, at the cenotaph.

“Soldiers who fought in all of our wars

Must have thought

What ... are we fighting for?


Is it for peace or is it for love?

Please give us a sign

... From heaven above.”

It turns out - and I did not know this - that Baillie has written numerous Remembrance Day poems - one each year for the past three years. Amazing! Don’t you think? Could her poem - “A Soldier’s Journey” - replace “In Flander’s Fields”? You can judge that for yourself here soon. Her poem follows, at the end of my column.

Baillie grew up on a farm south of Lafleche and went to school in Glentworth. She is just 32 years of age. She wrote some poetry in high school, but didn’t get serious about writing until about three years ago. If she continues down this road - and I know that she will - she is destined to become celebrated and recognized just like the war veterans she writes about.

I have often wondered, as I thought about the young men and women who went off to fight wars throughout the centuries, what exactly it was that made them do it. Just what, in heaven’s holy name, makes a young person step onto the battlefield, knowing full well that they very likely will not live to see tomorrow’s sunrise. For certain, they will lose friends and comrades-in-arms in the fray, even if they themselves somehow manage to survive. Think about it. You’re standing there - just one tiny moment before you step onto the beach, or the battlefield. All the horrors of hell in a baptism of fire, are about to be unleashed and descend upon you. You know enough history to know this is true, and still … you pull up your socks, take one long, deep breath, and step out into the nightmare of hell that awaits you.

Why? Why did they do it? We may never know the answer to this penetrating question. What we do know, however, is that blind bravery, grit, pluck, determination, and focus - not necessarily towards a pure and worthy cause - stood tall in the midst of their deepest fears. They forged on. Straight ahead. Fighting for what they believed in, just like Baillie says in her poem.

So, thank you, Baillie … and thank you to all those who lived, died, fought, were traumatized and wounded in all the wars we know. You didn’t have to do it, but you did. For all this, we will always be grateful and forever in your debt!

One more thing. Something else I didn’t know. Baillie wrote her poem - “A Soldier’s Journey” - three years ago. She has asked nicely, every year for the past three years if those in charge of local Remembrance Day services would let her read her poem in public. She was told politely, in essence, that nothing could ever replace John McCrea’s 1915 poem: “In Flander’s Fields”. Well, they were wrong. This year it just got replaced. Way to go, Baillie! You possess the same grit and determination that the very veterans you wrote about possessed. Your perseverance finally paid off. We’re proud of you, darlin’!

Here’s what Baillie wrote - and finally got to read - this Remembrance Day, 2021:


by Baillie St. Jacques


Soldiers who fought in all of our wars

Must have thought

What ... are we fighting for?


Is it for peace or is it for love?

Please give us a sign

... From heaven above.


Many were sent,

Many enlisted ...

They did not repent, nor did they relent.


They fought for truth

They fought for our freedom

They fought for the freedom ...

of the old and our youth.


Sleepless nights

And long, cold, days ...

Everyone fought for our

cherished rights.


Many loved ones waited at home ...

Waiting, waiting,

Close by the phone.


For a phone call or ... a simple sign

That would say

Their loved ones were safe and fine.


Many hearts were sadly broken

When that dreaded knock

Came with a ‘token’.


“Your loved one was injured,

Your loved one has died ...

I’m SO sorry ma’am”,

They said as she cried.


“There’s nothing you can say,

There’s nothing you can do,

To bring me comfort

In this time of dismay ..


He fought strongly for truth

He fought bravely for freedom

He fought fiercely for all that he

ever believed in

He fought so valiantly for our

treasured youth” ...


That is why, this November,

We wear a poppy

And silently remember ...