In Flanders Field

poppy fieldOn the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Germany signed an armistice that ended hostilities in World War I. Hostile doesn’t quite cover it; with 20th century technology and 19th century tactics, World War I was one of the most destructive wars in history. The Great War (as it was contemporarily known) included trench warfare, Spanish influenza, and over 37 million casualties.

During the Second Battle of Ypres (Belgium) in 1915, German forces used poison gas for the first time on the Western Front (use of poison gas on the Eastern Front was commonplace). After 17 straight days of fighting, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D., of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces found himself performing the funeral of a friend and former student, Lieutenant Alex Helmer. Moved beyond speaking, McCrae composed the poem “In Flanders Field” shortly after the service. The reddish Flanders poppy has since become a symbol of remembrance and respect in the former Allied countries, particularly in Great Britain and its now sovereign commonwealth realms.

President Woodrow Wilson declared the first Armistice Day on November 11th, 1919. It later became a formal (legal) federal holiday in 1938. In 1954 Congress changed the name from “Armistice” to “Veterans” Day to honor veterans of all wars, not just World War I.

To all our veterans, a hearty and heartfelt thank you.


In Flanders Field

   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.


One response to “In Flanders Field”

  1. This is a story written in a poem. It tells me that we should not forget these patriots and we should hold 
    the course as they did. We should never give up!!!

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