Remembrance and Veterans Day - In Flanders Fields
November 11th is Remembrance Day (Canada) / Veterans Day (United States)
Thank you to all veterans and those who serve.
The poem In Flanders Fields (1915) by Canadian military doctor, soldier and artillery commander John McCrae was written during World War I (“The Great War”) , and has become the anthem for Remembrance Day and Veterans Day ceremonies around the world on November 11th.
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.
In Flanders Fields Poet John McCrae
McCrae is said to have composed the poem after his friend and fellow Canadian artillery officer Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed in France during the Second Battle of Ypres on May 2, 1915.
John McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario on November 30, 1872; he served in the volunteer militia there as a teenager. After graduating from the University of Toronto medical school in 1898, McCrae served in the Boer War in 1900. Before World War I began in 1914, McCrae had established a distinguished career as a doctor and surgeon at Toronto General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, and Montreal General Hospital.
John McCrae died of meningitis and pneumonia at the age of 45 in France during World War I, on January 28, 1918 and is buried in Wimereux Cemetery near Boulogne. His poem In Flanders Fields was published by London, England’s Punch magazine on December 8, 1915.
100 years later, seniors and baby boomers will remember reciting In Flanders Fields in school to commemorate war veterans, and the poem popularized the poppy as a remembrance symbol that is worn by millions every Remembrance Day.
Lest We Forget
Photo: Derek Mack via Unsplash)