Memorial Day 2015

free-vector-poppy-remembrance-day-clip-art_106032_Poppy_Remembrance_Day_clip_art_smallThis Memorial Day marks the 100th Anniversary of the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, a Canadian soldier and physician. He had previously fought in the Second Boer War and enlisted following the outbreak of the First World War. Even though eligible to serve in the medical corps, he considered himself a soldier first and volunteered to join a fighting unit as gunner and medical officer.

His unit was gassed on April 22, 1915. On May 2 when a close friend was killed, he performed the burial service himself and noted how quickly the poppies grew around the graves. The next day, he composed the poem:

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
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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