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Monday, May 25, 2009

In Flanders Fields

This poem was written by a Canadian artillery officer, Lt. Col. John McCrae, during World War I after seeing his friend die in battle. It is the main reason legions of British and many Canadian citizens wear poppies on Remembrance Day (November 11). I was in London for Remembrance Day in 2006 after returning from Iraq and virtually every citizen was wearing a poppy; it was pretty amazing to say the least. Meanwhile, here in America, a sparse few of the citizenry wear poppies on Memorial Day. Oh wait, we have magnetic yellow ribbons to put on our SUVs...

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.

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