Thursday, November 11, 2004

Lest we forget

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae, doctor and teacher, veteran of the South African War and the First World War

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


Information courtesy of Veteran Affairs Canada:
Before he died, John McCrae had the satisfaction of knowing that his poem had been a success. Soon after its publication, it became the most popular poem on the First World War. It was translated into many languages and used on billboards advertising the sale of the first Victory Loan Bonds in Canada in 1917. Designed to raise $150,000,000, the campaign raised $400,000,000.

In part because of the poem's popularity, the poppy was adopted as the Flower of Remembrance for the war dead of Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.

Today, people continue to pay tribute to the poet of "In Flanders Fields" by visiting McCrae House, the limestone cottage in Guelph, Ontario where he was born. The house has been preserved as a museum. Beside it are a memorial cenotaph and a garden of remembrance.

The symbolic poppy and John McCrae's poems are still linked and the voices of those who have died in war continue to be heard each Remembrance Day.
A biography of John McCrae and the context of the poem may also be found at the Veteran Affairs Canada link.

3 comments:

  1. that's lovely :) - zan

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  2. No, I made a donation for a poppy from the veteran volunteers, but I lost it soon after. :( Those vets are really nice, volunteering every year in their old age. I wonder who'll do it when they pass away.

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