Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Anyone ever heard of John McRae? He was the Canadian poet who wrote one of the most famous poems about war, "In Flanders Fields". Flanders is a region on the coast of Europe, partly in France, partly in Belgium. Thousands of Allied soldiers are buried there. The poem was published in 1915. McRae served in both the Boer War and World War I.

His poem inspired "Poppy Day" in which artificial poppies were sold on Armistice Day for charitable causes involving servicemen and women. Remember Poppy Day? I do.

This is a good way to remember the sacrifices given by millions of our relatives and forefathers and foremothers:

"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row upon row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard among the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, and 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.

One cannot read this, nor think about Memorial Day without pain--sorry about all the millions who have died in the name of agression and power. Such a sad commentary on our humanity.

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