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November 11, 2013

November 11: "Though Poppies Grow In Flanders Fields."

Observed today as a day off work for many in the United States, Veterans Day is always on November 11, and comes to us from World War I, or the Great War. The first and most horrific of modern wars was officially over with the Treaty of Versailles in June of 1919. But November 11 is observed in about 60 (mostly Commonwealth nations) as Remembrance Day, Poppy Day or Armistice Day to mark the end of major fighting in World War I in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when Germany had signed the Armistice. As "Poppy Day", it derives its name from John McCrae's short but famous poem.

In Flanders Field

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. The poem first appeared in Punch in December of 1915.

503px-John_McCrae_leaning_against_a_sundial.jpg
McCrae in 1912

Posted by JD Hull at November 11, 2013 11:59 PM

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