In Flanders Fields
BY JOHN MCCRAE
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.
John McCrae was a Canadian military physician, born in Guelph Ontario, who served in WWI. At the end of one of the worst battles he was a part of, the Second Battle of Ypres (in Flanders region of Belgium) McCrae buried one of his best friends and fellow soldier, Alexis Helmer. After the service, McCrae noticed how quickly wild poppies grew throughout the battlefield and was inspired to write the poem In Flanders Fields, in the back of an ambulance.
Growing up, this was a poem I had to memorize for one of my classes; I want to say I was in grade 5. Our teacher had us do a dramatic reading as a class – you know where the boys say one line, the girls say another, and then when you want to bring emphasis to something, you say it all as a class. Nothing sticks with me more than hearing my grandparents’ stories about their relief and joy when they saw Canadian Forces come into their town back in The Netherlands – cities that had been occupied by the German Forces. Every year, my grandfather made a point of going to the cenotaph in our city to say thank you to the veterans that served during WWII, and that continue to serve – a tradition I carry on with my husband.
November 8th is National Aboriginal Veterans Day and November 11th is Remembrance Day here in Canada. We typically identify both these days as those soldiers who fought and died during WWI and WWII. However, we also need to remember those who are currently serving our country. The men and women who leave their homes and their families in order for us to live in a country where we can be free and not have to worry about war.
How do you remember?
Here’s an idea for you – this weekend, create a Poppy Pinwheel and discuss why we are free with your child. Take it with you if you head to the cenotaph this weekend!
Materials Needed: You’ll need red paper, brass paper fasteners, a black Sharpie, green paper straws and a hole punch (1/8 inch).
Simply fold the paper, fasten and create the best poppy’s this weekend.
Be share to show us your creations on Facebook!