Never To Be Forgotten ~ Anchored In Him


In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row by row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard among 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 yea break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Long before the Great War, the red poppy had become a
symbol of death, renewal and life. The seeds of the
flower can remain dormant in the earth for years, but
will blossom spectacularly when the soil is churned.
Beginning in late 1914, the fields of Northern France
and Flanders became the scene of stupendous disturbances.
Red Poppy's soon appeared.

In 1915, at a Canadian dressing station north of Ypres on
the Essex Farm, an exhausted physician named Lt. Col. John
McCrae would take in the view of the poppy strewn Salient
and experience a moment of artistic inspiration. The veteran
of the South African War was able to distill in a single
vision the vitality of the red poppy symbol, his respect for
the sacrifice made by his patients and dead comrades, and his
intense feeling of obligation to them. McCrae would capture
all of this in the most famous single poem of the First World
War, In Flanders Fields. 

John McCrae 
The doctor's work achieved immediate universal popularity which
was subsequently reinforced by his own death in 1918 from pneumonia and meningitis. He was buried in a military cemetery near Calais on the English Channel, thus becoming one with those of whom he wrote in his famous poem. Probably by the time of his internment, John McCrae's verse had forever bound the image of the Red Poppy to the memory of the Great War. The poppy was eventually adopted by the British and Canadian Legions as the symbol of remembrance of World War One and a means of raising funds for disabled veterans. An American war volunteer, Moina Michael, helped establish the symbol in the US where the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion also embraced the Red Poppy tradition.

Military Casualties, World War I 1914-1918

Belgium 45,550
British Empire 942,135
France 1,368,000
Greece 23,098
Italy 680,000
Japan 1,344
Montenegro 3,000
Portugal 8,145
Romania 300,000
Russia 1,700,000
Serbia 45,000

United States 116,516
Austria-Hungary 1,200,000
Bulgaria 87,495
Germany 1,935,000
Ottoman Empire 725,000

World War I (1917-1918) (US)
Total Service members (Worldwide).............4,734,991
Battle Deaths.................................................53,402
Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)..............63,114
Non-mortal Woundings.................................204,002
Living Veterans (July 2014).....................................0


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