In Flanders' Fields

As a young boy growing up in Canada, Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day here in the US) was always a big event. Every year on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:00 a.m. Canadians observe two minutes of silence as we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms. As young Cub Scouts we had the assignment to attend services at the local Canadian Legion or VFW and participate in the ceremonies and the laying of wreaths. It was a very solemn experience. I remember many WWI and WWII veterans dressed in their uniforms paying respects to their fallen comrades as wreaths were placed on the cenotaph.

November 11th always seemed to be a cold and dreary day. We young Cub Scouts would shiver and try to stay warm. Because we were in uniform we were not always dressed well for the weather. Standing in the cold rain or even snow was not a pleasant experience for me, but even at that young age I thought my discomfort was a small price to pay for others who had sacrificed so much more.
In grade school every child was required to memorize the poem written by Colonel John McCrae entitled "In Flanders' Fields" The poem is very simple, yet captures the magnitude and responsibility associated with the sacrifice made by so very many.

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.

Lest We Forget Lest We Forget

Every year I wear my poppy and refresh the poem in my mind. As I do so, I gain new respect and appreciation for sacrifices made on my behalf so I can enjoy my freedom. A wise person noted that "freedom is never free." I always do my best to remember that.

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Anonymous said...


It was touching for me to hear you recite the poem, "In Flanders' Fields" on Sunday. You recited it with such emotion. I appreciated stopping for a moment to remember our veterans.

It also reminded me of my step mother who being Australian reverently remembered our veterans. She always took a moment to remember them on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour. She said in every pub in Australia there is always a sign that reads "Lest We Forget".

Thank you for sharing that moment and remembering.

Tom Allred

Anonymous said...

Simply beautiful, thank you.