Remembrance Day

Most Americans probably think of November 11 as Veterans Day, but a number are old enough to remember it as “Armistice Day”, marking the conclusion of World War I, the “Great War”. But to residents of the Commonwealth nations, it is Remembrance Day.

As part of their Remembrance Day observance, residents of the Commonwealth nations—and those with ties to those countries, whether by blood or affection—will often wear poppies such as those pictured here. In the UK, these remembrance poppies are sold by organizations such as the Royal British Legion, which use the proceeds to assist members of the British Armed Forces and their dependents.

Why poppies? Because of a poem written by Lt Col John McCrae while serving as a field surgeon in the Canadian artillery during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915. That poem, “In Flanders Fields”, is one of the classic war poems.

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.

Comments are closed.