In Flanders Fields

Since today is Memorial Day, I wanted to take a break from the normal cow talk and focus on the brave men and women who lost their lives defending our nation. Thinking back on all the Memorial Day Services I’ve attended, one memory that always sticks out from my childhood was listening to a member of the American Legion reading the poem “In Flander’s Fields”. Written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a medical officer in the Canadian army during the First World War, the narrator of the poem speaks to us from beyond the grave on the frailty of life and charges his brethren still fighting to never give up the cause. It goes as such,

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.

In a small town Legion hall, these words echoed from the mouth of a weathered farmer and soldier. Then the names of the dead, a list so long it took several pages, was read. Finally, when the last name was called, the rifles sounded 21 guns. Then taps was played, sometimes by my father, sister or me.

On this day, I’d would like to thank the families of those who gave their fathers and mothers, spouses, and sons and daughters for this country. I’d like to thank those who continue to serve today. And finally, my prayers are with those who now lie in the Flander’s Fields on our shores and overseas. God bless you and God bless America.


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2 responses to “In Flanders Fields

  1. Thank you for your posting. This is a very special day indeed, a time to remember all those who have died in service to our country, granting us the privileges that we enjoy. Though my wife and I did not attend the full ceremonies at the community center today, we did attend the presentation at Springfield & St. Vincent cemeteries. We did not hear this be read. As I remember my past, it was Memorial Day in 1974, I was asked to read this at the local ceremonies. (Those of my class who had been delegates to Boys State the previous summer were asked to participate.) It was an honor to be able do this reading.

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