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.
(1872 - 1918)
Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae left Ypres with these memorable few lines scrawled on a scrap of paper. His words were a poem which started, “In Flanders fields the poppies blow…” Little did he know then that these 15 lines would become enshrined in the innermost thoughts and hearts of all soldiers who hear them. Through his words, the scarlet Poppy quickly became the symbol for soldiers who died in battle.
The poem was first published on 8 December 1915 in England, appearing in “Punch” magazine."- Quoted from http://www.legion.ca/Poppy/campaign_e.cfm
The armistice to end the First World War takes effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. This year marks the 90th Anniversary to the end of WW I. Like so many others I too had family that fought in WW I. Our family was one of the lucky ones whose loved ones returned home. My Great Uncle Clarence fought in both WW I and WW II, he returned home both times.The Canada Remembers Program endeavours to keep alive the achievements and sacrifices made by those who served Canada in times of war and peace; to engage communities in remembrance of these achievements and sacrifices; and, to promote an understanding of their significance in Canadian life as we know it today.
Each year in November, Poppies blossom on the lapels and collars of over half of the entire Canadian population. Since 1921, the Poppy has stood as a symbol of Remembrance, our visual pledge to never forget all those Canadians who have fallen in war and military operations. The Poppy also stands internationally as a “symbol of collective reminiscence”, as other countries have also adopted its image to honour those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
This significance of the Poppy can be traced to international origins.
The association of the Poppy to those who had been killed in war has existed since the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, over 110 years before being adopted in Canada. There exists a record from that time of how thickly Poppies grew over the graves of soldiers in the area of Flanders, France. This early connection between the Poppy and battlefield deaths described how fields that were barren before the battles exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended.
Just prior to the First World War, few Poppies grew in Flanders. During the tremendous bombardments of that war, the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing “popaver rhoes” to thrive. When the war ended, the lime was quickly absorbed and the Poppy began to disappear again.
The person who was responsible more than any other for the adoption of the Poppy as a symbol of Remembrance in Canada and the Commonwealth was Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian Medical Officer during the First World War.
So to all the men and women both past and present who have given so much so that we as Canadians can enjoy freedom and democracy - Thank You!
God Bless you all!
Thank you to Leanne a friend of mine from Fabulous Canadian Freebies for the use of Lest We Forget graphic used here. You have an amazing talent with graphics, thank you for allowing me to use this one of yours.
General Remembrance Resources - an awesome resource to learn more about Remembrance Day.
Canada Remembers - Veterans Affairs Canada
Royal Canadian Legion - The Poppy Campaign