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FF Sparks (Casual)

[General] Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans Day

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.

--Lt. Col. John McCrae, Canadian Expeditionary Forces, May 3, 1915 (World War I)

Whether or not you agree with the war (I'm sure everyone knows I do not), remember today to honor the men and women who serve their countries far from home, and too often come home to little thanks.

If you see a homeless veteran -- and there are far too many around -- on the streets near your supermark, buy them a nice warm meal at the deli inside or something similar. $5-6 for a bag of warm chicken strips or a bowl of hot noodles is such a small price to repay a part of their service.


I admit I'm not as fond of the last verse myself, though at the time (World War I), the verse was arguably somewhat justified. I actually like the three stanzas in reply by some anonymous poet years later better as an ending. (No, this isn't John Mitchell's famous reply to In Flanders Fields, nor R.W. Lillard's one that I like so much.)

OH you who sleep in Flanders fields-
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept the faith with
Those who died.

We cherish too the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders fields.

AND now the torch and poppy red
We wear in honor of our dead
Fear naught that ye have died for naught
We've learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders fields.

But regardless, when quoting McCrae's poem it seems only fair to quote the entire thing in the original form.

EDIT: Huh... a brief search seems to turn up that the stanzas I've always seen as anonymous were a reply written in remembrance by an American woman named Moina Michael.

Edited at 2008-11-11 07:13 pm (UTC)