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"In Flanders Fields the Poppies Blow..."

My father was not a poet and not the type to go around quoting poetry. But for some reason, every Memorial Day he would recite this poem from memory. He was born just after World War I ended, and he was a  World War II Vet himself. He never said why he liked or recited this poem, but he used to always bring me a Poppy on Memorial Day that he got from his VFW post. So, I just thought I'd post it up, in order  that we could all remember the enormous amount of sacrifice that has been put forth for us to continue this American experiment. May we be worthy of it.

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.

 

by John McCrae, 1919

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Comment by Maryanne Mesple on June 7, 2011 at 12:28am
well I wrote you a long response and it evaporated :-) I am glad your dad did not have to go. My dad was in France in the thick of things.
Comment by Maryanne Mesple on June 7, 2011 at 12:27am
My father was in France when he was 18ish? anyway he was in the thick of the war in Europe. A hand grenade exploded close to him is some foxhole type setting and blew off the flesh from half his face. He was treated and sent home because it also impacted his ability to breathe and was in an iron lung. When he recovered and was doing some R&R he visited a small town in Florence AZ, met my mom, and the rest is history. But, the war really impacted him and he lost so many of his family and friends ... I believe this is why he loved the poem and I also wonder if it was taught to the young men heading out into the arena of war? He never said but he did love red poppies :-)
Comment by wiffledust on June 6, 2011 at 10:48pm
really, maryanne? how interesting! when i was little i didn't really understand. he didn't seem to want to tell me what it was about. but i could tell it meant something to him. and later he told me. my dad was in line to go to the pacific when the war ended, and he was a very very grateful man that he didn't have to go.
Comment by Maryanne Mesple on June 6, 2011 at 9:51pm
Thank you so much for sharing. My father also would recite this poem, but not specifically on Memorial Day .. he just did. My dad also, was a WWll veteran.
Comment by wiffledust on May 30, 2011 at 10:11am
thanks for that, mona! my dad was born the year following this and was named "Victor" because of it. ironically his birthday would also be known as VE day....i never understood the poppies when i was little, and i don't think he wanted to go into too much detail. i pray for the end of war....
Comment by Mona Short on May 30, 2011 at 10:05am

Beautiful poem, that I have not seen before, and attached to such treasured memories.  Thanks for sharing.  I looked it up and found why your father was so connected to his poem and the poppies.  Here is what I found:

"The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem In Flanders Fields. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilt in the war.  Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries to remember the members of their armed forces who have died on duty since World War I. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognised as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the official end of World War I on that date in 1918, as the major hostilities of World War I were formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice."

Comment by Jodie Ann Christiansen on May 30, 2011 at 9:17am
awesome..........thanks.   have never read it    nor  fully understood   the   "poppy"   campaign

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