Remembrance Day

Originally published on 11/10/2009

The Armistice that brought an end to World War I (“the war to end all wars“) went into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Attending school in Canada, this day always included a school-wide Assembly- and it always included a recital of “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.

 

Written by Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John McCrae, it is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. McCrae later wrote of that battle: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.

For more information on the poem and the poppy, visit the Royal Canadian Legion web-site. Or the American Legion web-site to support US vets.

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