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Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day - In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields
by Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D. (1872-1918) Canadian Army

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.

The red poppy became a symbol of hope as it was one of the few living things to survive the devastation of the killing fields of Flanders; flowering each year with the coming of spring. It has been used by the Royal British Legion since shortly after the end of the war, when one Madame Geurin proposed the making of artificial poppies to use for fund-raising after seeing a secretary of the YMCA purchase some red poppies and sell them to her friends to raise money.