This poem has often been recited in ceremonies on Remembrance Day or Veterans’ Day; its message is just as clear and appropriate for Memorial Day. Let us not forget our fallen, and their sacrifices for all of us. Greg and the boys had the privilege of putting flags on graves in the Golden Gate Cemetery in Colma this Saturday. It was an impressive site to see the uniform rows of graves with a small waving flag next to it. I’ll post a picture when I can download it from my camera!
“In Flander’s Field”
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.
* * *
Note: Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada on November 30, 1872. A physician and an author, he is best known for “In Flander’s Field.” During the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium during The Great War he served as a surgeon with the Canadian artillery in a field hospital. Throughout the hellish battle in the Ypres Salient, McCrae treated many of the wounded soldiers and on May 2, 1915, he witnessed the death of a close friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer. The following day, after performing the funeral service for his friend in the absence of a chaplain, he sat near the cemetery and, as he watched the poppies blowing between the gravestones, he penned this poem to express his sadness at the devastation. The poem was later published in Punch magazine on December 8, 1915. (Thanks to David Hulme for sharing this poem.)
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