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November 11, 2017

This is Poppies Day. A day for Europe & North America. This is who we really are.

John_McCrae_leaning_against_a_sundial (1).jpg
McCrae in 1912

This year, America's Veterans Day, traditionally November 11, will be observed on Friday, the 10th. In the United Kingdom it will still be observed on Saturday the 11th.

In America the day honors all U.S. military veterans. However, it was originally only a day set aside by the participating combatant countries to honor the dead of World War I, or The Great War, and to celebrate the Armistice with Germany which had commenced November 11, 1918 at 11:00 am. As Remembrance Day, also called Poppy Day, the Commonwealth nations today still honor military veterans who died in the line of duty.

The name Poppy Day, and the holiday's moving symbolism you see in British homes and streets today and on Remembrance Sunday (always the preceding Sunday to the 11th) derive solely from a famous three-stanza poem by Lt. John Alexander McCrae, a Canadian soldier and physician, believed to be written on May 3, 1915. Early in the war, and in his forties, McCrae served as a front-line surgeon, including in the Second Battle of Ypres (April 21-May 25, 1915).

The poem first appeared in Punch in December of 1915, while McCrae was still alive. In early 1918, he died of pneumonia while still commanding a Canadian military hospital in northern France.


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.

--John Alexander McCrae (1872–1918) Poet, physician, Lieutenant Colonel of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.


Poppy2004.JPG

Posted by JD Hull at November 11, 2017 12:56 AM

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