THE REASONS WE MUST NEVER FORGET
After a 100 years, these words never rang more true
‘In Flanders Fields’
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 poem, written by then Major John McCrae on May 3 1915. It was inspired by the death of his friend and Militia comrade, Lt Alexis Helmer, which he presided over, at the second battle of Ypres.
Although trained as a physician, he was also trained at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston as an artilleryman, and served in the artillery during the second Boer War.
When we went to war, McCrae was appointed as Brigade Surgeon and 2 i/c of the 1st Brigade Canadian Field Artillery. Working out of a 8’x8′ bunker in the back of a dyke along the Yser Canal, he treated the injured. This is where his friend passed and the poem was inspired. On Jan 28,1918, while commanding the No3 Canadian General Hospital, McCrae died of pneumonia. He was a household name at the time of his death and was buried with full military honours complete with gun carriage and his charger Bonfire, carrying his boots reversed in the stirups. Bonfire was with Lt-Colonel McCrae from Valcartier until his death.
His words and actions inspired not only Canadians, but people throughout the world.