Remembrance Day 2014

In Flanders fields
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.

This well-known Remembrance Day poem was written by John McCrae, a poet and physician from Guelph, Ontario.  While most people know the first couple of lines of the poem, I’m embarrassed to admit I only learned the rest of it a few years ago.  I’m curious to know if this poem is only popular in Canada, or elsewhere too?

The following poem I’ve heard was found on the wall of a hospital in the Philippines after WWII:

A Prayer to Saint Peter
Let them in, Peter
For they are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep
And light those fires
Let them wake whole again
To brand new dawns
Fired by the sun
Not war-times bloody guns
May their peace be deep
Remember where the broken bodies lie
God knows how young they were
To have to die
Give them things they like
Let them make some noise
Give dance hall bands not golden harps
To these our boys
Let them love, Peter
For they’ve had no time
They should have bird songs and trees
And hills to climb
The taste of summer
And a ripened pear
And girls as sweet as meadow wind
And flowing hair
And tell them how they are missed
But say not to fear
It’s gonna be all right
With us down here

And later Edwin McCain put it to song:

Lest We Forget.

8 thoughts on “Remembrance Day 2014

  1. From a Veteran Cleopatra…thank you for posting this. In Flanders Fields is not so well known South of the Border, but I think it has gained some awareness in recent years. I had the privilege a few years back of being stationed in Canada, and of course serving with my fine fellow Canuck Brothers in Arms. Great assignment, great time, great friends.

  2. So this day is in honour of you, Joseph! In my small town we have a cenotaph at the cemetary, and 15 years ago a Remembrance Day service was begun there with only 2 people. Today there were probably about 5000-6000 people. It was pretty amazing!

    I've heard that the U.S. and Canada do some training exercises together. I'm happy that your experience was positive. And I really don't think that we say "eh!" all the time. 🙂

  3. It does surprise me that it's known in Australia. That's really wonderful!

    My friend's family is from Australia and she had me watch an old Australian series called "1915" once. That was the only exposure I've had to Australia's part in WWI. I am woefully ignorant when it comes to both World Wars, a deficiency that I plan to correct, I just don't know when. :-Z

  4. No, there is really no single poem specifically associated with Veteran's Day. You will probably be pleased to know though there is a poem by a Canadian/American, called High Flight, that is the unofficial prayer of the USAF, and usually recited at memorial services for fallen airmen.

    The author, John Gillespie Magee, Jr, an RCAF pilot did not survive WWII.

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