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
Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,”
The red remembrance poppy, inspired by the WWI poem “In Flanders Fields” was first adopted by our neighbours to the south. The American Legion used the poppy to commemorate American soldiers who died in the WWI 1914-1918. Shortly thereafter, the poppy was embraced by military veterans’ groups in the Commonwealth: Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Small artificial poppies (like the one I wear) are now worn on lapels and clothing a few weeks before the actual Remembrance/Armistice Day service.
“Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.”
James Bryce (British politician, diplomat, and historian 1838 – 1922)
“We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
On November 11th, Canada will observe Remembrance Day. On that day, we will remember the members of our armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Across Canada, there will be a moment of silence at the 11th hour. In the year 1918, WWI hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”
I am wearing a red poppy, which is the Canadian symbol of Remembrance Day based on the poem “In Flanders Fields.”On May 3, 1915, Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was moved to write the poem after he presided over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle Ypres. This week, I am dedicating my posts to the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve their countries.
May we all continue to seek peaceful solutions…together.
“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”
Sir Winston Churchill