In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow (original hand-written manuscript uses the word “grow”)
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.

Written May 3, 1915 during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, WWI.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was a [Canadian] soldier, physician and poet.

Died of illness in France, 1918. Flanders Fields and Other Poems, published in 1919.

Poppies came to symbolize, for Canadians, the remembrance of wars.

The Armistice Treaty was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. In Canada, a minute of silence is observed at 11:00 am. Canadian soldiers, sailors, flyers, medical staff and support staff died in WWI & II, Korea, Viet Nam, Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond, and as peace keepers, for NATO, throughout the world.

Two great-uncles served in France; only one came home, the other’s body never found.

My father served in WW2, Korea, and Southeast Asia. He came home, but rarely spoke of his experiences.

Today, we honour the dead; tomorrow, as John Lennon sang, let’s “give peace a chance.”

image: House at Ypres, A. Y. Jackson (one of the Canadian war artists who, like reporters and photographers, recorded the war in the field)

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