Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day — "In Flanders Fields"

I was born in September of 1945, just after the end of WWII. Patriotism was high throughout my school years. I can't say I remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in elementary school, but we did sing the Star Spangled Banner through out my secondary and college years before every athletic event and assembly. Everyone stood, took their hats off and placed their right hand over their heart.

Of course, I had a good role model, which is sometimes lacking today. My father was a Master Sergeant in the Air Force.  We were often on base and observed the exchange of salutes and military exhibitions.

In the sixth grade we memorized several poems and recited them before the class. One that has stuck with me all these years is In Flanders Field.

Even today it remains one of the most memorable poems ever written.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

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.

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