Monday, May 31, 2010

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.

The infamous poem, "In Flanders Fields", written by Major John McCrae, M.D. of the Canadian Army was almost never published, though today it remains one of the most memorable war poems of all time. The doctor penned the piece follow a traumatic 17 day battle in Ypres Salient near Belgium at the end of World War 1.

Although the prose was significant to his own experience, McCrae did not feel it merited sharing and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved the poem and sent it to The Spectator in London, whom rejected it. This non-official agent of McCrae sent it out once again to Punch who published it in December 1915.
In 1918 an American who was working in the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries' headquarters during its annual conference came across McCrae's poem while flipping through a copy of the Ladies Home Journal. She was so moved by it that she composed her own in response. Her tribute, entitled "We Shall Keep the Faith", honored the soldiers who died in the service of her own country.

Then Moina conceived the idea to wear red poppies as a symbol of rememberance on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She invested the $10 stipend from the conference to purchase 25 poppies which she sold to benefit servicemen in need. This tradition is continued to this day by the VFW and has spread to other countries around the word.
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
To Consider:

What thought-filled words of yours could have an enduring impact and inspire others? You won't know until you share them.

Do you recognize the value of another's writings? Encourage them today.

As writers we can use our gift of words to encourage and bless the families of service men and women who have lost loved ones or are serving in the armed forces now. Share the message of hope.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."
Revelation 14:13


  1. We are blessed! I appreciate the sacrifices made and to be made by our service men, women, and their families. Happy Memorial Day to all.

  2. Hi Carla -

    Thanks for bringing us this true story. I remember folks selling paper poppies at Memorial Day. It's too bad the practice died out.

    May we take that torch from past generations, and appreciate our freedom.

    Susan :)

  3. My WIP is set, in part, during WWI. What a tragic, tragic war. It's haunting how much beautiful poetry came out of it though. Reams upon reams of soul-wrenching words...

  4. And thank God for the outlet of writing that people can use to help heal and awaken others to important causes.

  5. Beautiful post, Carla. I love that poem. It's so achingly beautiful. Very sad, but stirring. Thank you for sharing it. And for the info about the poppies. I did not know that. This is a tradition that needs to be revived!
    Happy Tuesday,

  6. Beautiful, Carla! Thank you for reminding us of the reason why we can celebrate Memorial Day! God bless each and every one of our service men and women as they dedicate their lives to uphold our freedom!

    May our written words be an encouragement to them, today! God bless!

    BTW - Thanks for stopping by Life Lessons! God IS so good!! We had a wonderful celebration and took lots of pictures so we can remember the momentous occasion!!


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