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.
This poem was written by a Canadian officer who had seen his buddy fall in World War I in 1915. The red poppy proliferated the fields in the Europen campaign and inspired the Lieutenant Colonel to write of them. The red poppy was adopted by the Veterans in 1924 to commemorate the fallen soldiers of Foreign Wars. The silk artificial red poppies are made by veterans and given usually at supermarkets across the country–they aren’t sold but donations are accepted. It is worn by those who remember the loss of a friend or family member in the brutal arenas of war. In Canada and the United Kingdom, the poppies decorate graves on their Veterans Day, which is equivalent to our Memorial Day.
In the US, the poppies are usually given on Memorial Day, which used to be called Decoration Day until it was officially renamed in 1967. The holiday, the last Monday in May, was originally named in honor of Civil War Vetersns.
In the one battle in War World War I, after which this poem was created, more than 70, 000 allied soldiers lost their lives and over 6ooo German soldiers. It was the bloodiest battle of any war. It was the first incidence that chlorine gas was used on the battlefield. Many of the German deaths were attributed to German soldiers who had to open the containers of gas. In Europe, the white poppy became a symbol of the support against war.
On this Memorial Day, take a moment to stop, think, and remember those who have given their lives to fight for yours.