Disclaimer: I don't Gundam Wing or its characters.
Author's Notes: I wrote this after coming home from school. That morning, there was a Remembrance Day/Memorial Day celebration. Whether Canadian, American, or any other nationality, let us all remember our honoured veterans and what they were fighting for.
Relena Darlain, formerly Relena Peacecraft, was busy reading through the old history stacks.
It had been one of those rare days when she didn't have such a large work pile, leaving her free to see a movie, or relax and read a good book.
She stumbled across a worn out spine and took the old book off the shelf. The subject was about something called "World War II".
She found a comfy chair in the vast library and opened its musty and yellowed pages to find them lined with copies of photographs.
There were pictures of boys, all dressed in early twentieth century military gear. They had bulky army fatigues and helmets sitting lopsided on their heads.
Their dirt smeared and tired faces were smiling as they waited for the picture to be taken.
What surprised Relena was that those young men were no older than she was!
"The young men of this regiment were from sixteen to twenty years old. They were stationed in foxholes out in the middle of battlefields outside of Poland."
She read that line over and over again.
Even back then, hundreds of years ago, young people were sent out to fight.
Relena, absorbed into the old text, turned the pages and continued reading.
There were more photos of young boys in traditional army and navy uniforms. And there were also young girls were dressed as nurses and were aiding the sick and injured soldiers. Some other picture had young girls who were also dressed in overalls and bandanas holding riveting guns.
The captions said that they all volunteered to help out in the war effort, and in some small way, stop the war and restore peace.
But then, as she turned the pages, she read on of the atrocities of this second world war. Racism, mass genocide, destructive weapons being created and tested, countries being shattered in hours and taking years to rebuild.
Relena neatly closed the book and set it on her lap.
She raised a delicate hand to wipe the tears that were forming in her eyes and were running down her cheeks.
This is so much like what I had been through and worked so hard to stop. How can I honour them? How can I honour those that died then and now?
Relena, with the book in hand, returned to the shelf where she found it. She placed the text back in its proper place. She began to thrift through the titles and took out an armful of books on the same subject.
Somewhere in these books I will find a way, Relena thought to herself as she set on her research.
The books had been quite helpful in preparing for the ceremony.
Everything had been planned for a week, and Relena tried her best to extend invitations and duties to her close friends.
She stood outside the gates of the cemetery that housed all the soldiers from World Wars I and II, and the war of 195 and 196 A.C. All of them marked with simple white crosses.
Somewhere in this field, the bodies of soldiers from the past mingled with those of the future.
The white painted seats matched the crosses, and they were arranged along each side of the gate, leaving a long aisle in between. Not a single chair was within the grounds of the graves, for out of respect to the dead.
Relena was alone, standing between the gates, facing the chairs, and waiting for those who cared to arrive.
She looked up at the grey and cloudy sky and wrapped her coat tighter around her as a chilly wind blew by.
Her hand traveled to the red poppy pinned on the lapel of her coat, making sure that it wasn't blown away.
That was what her watch said.
Did they care at all? Or was this a silly and forgotten ceremony from their primitive past?
Relena hung her head in defeat. Everyone was too busy enjoying the peacetime to care. Peace was attained and honouring soldiers would probably bring up dreadful memories. Why did she even think of this in the first place?
Then, the distant droning and shrilling of notes getting louder caught her attention. It was a traditional highland tune.
She looked up to see two distant figures climbing the hill.
The first figure was a little girl seated in a wheel chair. Her red hair was covered with a cap that peaked atop her head, and she wore a shirt covered by a cape draped over one shoulder, and a red tartan kilt. The strange instrument in her hands was a bag with pipes protruding from it. That was what produced the noise.
The figure pushing behind the handicapped girl was of a mature woman. Her brown hair was let down, her face absent of its glasses. The woman wore a suit that was a mix of her former OZ uniform and her current Preventers uniform.
These two led the way to many more figures.
As they neared the gates and the awaiting Vice Foreign Minister, she could see who they were much more clearly.
Four very familiar boys, each with a female companion.
Duo Maxwell was dressed in his usual priest outfit. In one arm, he held a bible, and in the other was Hilde Schbeiker. She wore a modified version of her OZ uniform along with a green beret, and she totted a gleaming silver trumpet.
Quatre Winner was in a business suit, and he escorted an unusually somber Dorothy Catalonia with him.
Trowa Barton, in his usual clothing, led his sister who was in simpler purple dress; both siblings looked mournful.
Wufei Chang, in his traditional white Chinese garb, stoically walked along with Sally Po, in her old rebellion fatigues.
Behind them were many more people. Politicians, veterans, and civilian strangers alike were headed for the ceremony.
And they all had bright red poppies pinned on their clothing.
Relena smiled as her eyes brimmed with tears of happiness. But then, the tears turned to those of sadness. She was expecting another boy to arrive. Wouldn't he want to be honoured? Or at least pay his respects and thanks to those of the past?
Hastily, she wiped her eyes dry and stood out before her audience and greeted those who were being seated.
Her friends all lined up along the front, smiling up at her.
"Thank you all for coming here today. I am especially thankful to the veterans of the war and the Preventers for attending this ceremony.
"Today, it is the eleventh day of the eleventh month. November eleventh. Do any of you know what happened on this day hundreds of years ago?
"On this day in the year of nineteen forty-five, a world war was ended. A war not unlike our own. Young men and women fought against those who wanted to become a global power. They fought to preserve their freedom. To preserve peace.
"Innocents and soldiers alike died, but they succeeded, and their efforts were recognized and celebrated for many years. But after decades of peace, the celebrations were taken for granted and were forgotten. Even though, the peace still lived on.
"And then, history had to repeat itself. Three years ago, we ended another war. It was not one that involved just the Earth, but it involved both the Earth and space against those who wanted to become universal powers. Again, that war involved men and women who risked their lives. And they did succeed.
"People who we were very close to have been lost to us because of war. Maybe they were soldiers, maybe they were innocents. But we are here now to rekindle this tradition and honour those who gave up their lives in order to attain this peace. Those from then and now."
She let a silence settle over the crowd. She then walked towards Duo and beckoned him to take her place.
Duo reluctantly stood up and replaced Relena at the head of the gate. He clutched the bible even closer to him.
"Uh, hello everyone. You all know that I was a former Gundam pilot, but I am here to pay my respects to those that died in times of war. I was affected by it too.
"I was an orphan. And a kindly priest and nun took me in and raised me. But they were killed in what was known as the 'Maxwell Church Massacre'. I'm not a real priest, but I wear this white collar before you in remembrance of my loved ones and I will try to uphold what they believed in.
"Now, I would like to read to you a passage from the New Testament." He flipped open the little black book and started to recite the passage.
They listened in rapt attention as Duo read the Beatitudes.
"Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted... Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth..."
Duo closed the book. "This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. Amen." And he crossed himself before settling back in his seat.
Sally took over for Duo at the centre of the ceremony.
"I am Sally Po and I work at the Preventers along with Lady Une and the Gundam pilots here. During the war, although we took different sides, we each worked in order to keep our ideals and beliefs of peace alive. And even though we are united, we are still working on keeping the peace even now."
She reached into the multi-pocketed green vest she wore and pulled out a small book. She thumbed through the pages and found what she was looking for.
"This is the poem that was traditionally read during the ceremony. This was written during the first world war by Dr. John McCrae, an officer on the battlefield. It is called, 'In Flanders Fields'."
"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."
By the end of the recital, many attendees had tears running down their eyes. Sally bowed her head and made her way back to her seat.
Trowa then rose and stood at the front.
"It is now eleven o'clock. This is the time that the second world war ended. Please, a moment of silent reflection for the dead."
As he sat down, Mariemaia was wheeled up to the front. She played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes as everyone had bowed their heads in silence.
When she was done and wheeled back to her place, Hilde stood up at the front and began to play the rousing wake up call of the soldiers on the trumpet. Then she stepped to the side of the gate.
With the moment of reflection over, Relena took up the head of the ceremony once again.
"Thank you. Understand that some of the soldiers here did not fight for power, but to keep the ideals of peace alive. Let us give our thanks to them for all that they have done, and let us keep this tradition going on strong. I do not want them to lie here as forgotten relics of a time that we hope will never arise again, but only to find that we were wrong. I would like to end the ceremony and thank you for being here and for your support."
Relena then nodded to Hilde.
The German girl took her place in front of her. She raised the trumpet to her lips and began to play the funeral song, "Taps".
Mariemaia and Lady Une began the procession to the back of the crowd, followed by the Gundam pilots and their female companions. Duo and Hilde were the last couple, with Relena marching solemnly behind them.
The people in the crowd got up from their seats and followed the celebrated war heroes away from the field and went home with a new perspective on remembering their soldiers and the peace that they fought so hard for.
As the rest of the crowd dispersed and thinned out as the witnessed to today's ceremony left for home, a lone figure stayed behind and watched the retreating forms of his friends.
Heero Yuy plucked the poppy pinned onto his jacket's breast pocket.
He looked back at the endless rows of white crosses that were markers for the graves. He began to make his way towards the first one he saw.
It was a single cross, not unlike the others, and Heero didn't know why he choose it. He didn't even know who that was.
But anyways, he bent down before the grave and placed the flower at the base of it. He looked up at the hill that Relena and his friends had just disappeared from, and returned his attention to the flower.
"Thank you. For everything," was what he muttered before walking away.
Additional Author's Notes: Here is my third GW fanfic. Sorry if I didn't include Milliardo and Noin. At the end of "Endless Waltz", both of them disappeared to help with the terraforming project on Mars. Please tell me what you think of this little piece, and don't forget to wear poppy in remembrance.