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
John McCrae, 1872 – 1918
Lest we forget, this remains one of the most important and poignant poems.
Today, November 11, 2017, marks the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I, the Great War – the War to End All Wars – and is being observed in all member states in the Commonwealth of Nations as Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in the U.S.).
This poem is especially close to the hearts of all Canadians, as it was a Canadian, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, who penned these words while treating the sick and wounded in Europe during WW I.
Lt. Col. McCrae never made it home, though. He died of pneumonia in 1918, 10 months shy of the end of the war. Although his poem has endured – nay, blossomed – since then, he never bore witness to what transpired at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918; it was at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, in the Forest of Compiegne, France, when the Armistice to end World War I signed between the Allies and Germany went into effect.
Elsewhere throughout Europe, church bells rang. It was over.