Friday, May 28, 2010

In Flanders Fields

Memorial Day was originally a celebration of the re-unification of North and South after the Civil War. It was expanded to commemorate all soldiers who have died in service to this country after World War I. One tradition is the planting of poppies in American graveyards for soldiers. That tradition started with a poem.

Lieutenant Colonel James McRae, a Canadian physician, wrote it upon the death of his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer on May 3, 1915. It's a poem, in other words, by someone who was there.  The torch he speaks of belongs to all of us, I am sure.

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.


Unknown said...

I didnt know this. Thanks for sharing! Thank you to every soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice. I will remember you. And thank you to all who serve willing to give the ultimate sacrifice.

Have a great weekend Annie. <3

Linnnn said...

Thank you Ann for bringing this to the attention of your readers. I think the smoke from our bar b cues and the foam from the tops of our beers are obscuring the most important part of this weekend.

Slamdunk said...

This made my day. Thanks for posting such an inspirational poem on this significant holiday weekend.

It reminded me of what local historian told me--that one of the clues she looked for in old forgotten cemeteries (no headstones) was a specific wildflower that bloomed in the summer. Evidently, folks in the 19th century planted the flowers in honor of loved ones lost.

Bob G. said...

You managed to find the OTHER poem I had to recite in grade school...

How DO you do it?

This was easy to memorize, and I never thought much of it until later in life...
Then, it was that "moment of clarity" we hear about.

A mervelous way to begin this Memorial Day weekend.

Well done.
And do have yourself a safe and happy weekend.

Ann T. said...

Dear peedee,
I had to look it all up myself. I'm glad it wasn't just me!

You have an extraordinary weekend too!

<3 Annie

Ann T. said...

Dear Linnnn,
Thanks for the credit. I expect you are not one to get lost in the smoke and suds.

Have a fun and meaningful weekend!
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Thank you! You are more than welcome.

I love this info about the historical flowers. It's history, archeology, botany, and exploration all rolled into one. A new area of interest!

Have a great weekend!
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
You were made to memorize some awfully good poems!

Thank you very much and

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day yourself!
Best to all at your house, family, pets, and critters seeking refuge in your lovely garden.