Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Flanders Fields

More than 100,000 Canadians soldiers have died in various conflicts since 1899, including:
  • More than 240 in the Boer War
  • More than 66,000 in World War I
  • More than 44,000 in World War II
  • 516 in the Korean War
  • 121 in peacekeeping missions
  • 97 in Afghanistan (to date)
Today marks the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, which ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.


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.

This poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian doctor, was written on May 3, 1915 as he was on the battlefield at Ypres, Belgium. It's the reason we wear poppies.

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