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“In Flanders Field”

This war poem was written by Canadian John McCrae on May 3, 1915. He was a physician and poet who presided over the funeral of his friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres (click here). Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae thought that his poem was not good enough and discarded it. But, some of his fellow soldiers retrieved the poem and it was later published on December 8, 1915 in the London based magazine Punch. How many times have you felt that what you have done was “not good enough” and wanted to forget about it and toss it away like John McCrae did? But take heart and do not be a critic of your own work for it is not in our place to pass judgment either on others or yourself!

The poem that John McCrae wrote and the red poppies of Flanders field have became one of our most recognized symbols of Memorial Day for the soldiers who have died in conflict. For all those who died in conflict for our freedom, we salute you as you gave the best that you had to give – your lives.

“In Flanders 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.

4 thoughts on ““In Flanders Field””

  1. Well said Jim!!
    Carl made a beautiful stained glass work of poppies that recently sold in an arts/crafts gallery in Mansfield. After reading your piece, I’m wondering if the buyer was giving it as a gift in memory of a loved one.
    Poppies have have added meaning for me–when Marcel was “courting” me he brought me a bouquet of orange and yellow poppies. I asked him what they were called in French– coquelicot-(coke-lee-co)–pretty isn’t it? For a beautiful flower…….

    1. Thank you Barb. I have always struggled a bit with Memorial Day. But I think that I have finally straightened out my thinking. The poppies that I have in my garden start blooming just a week before Memorial Day. I like them since they take no care on my part and add a lot of color to the garden.

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