Saturday, November 10, 2012

In Flanders Fields

A war poem (in the form of a rondeau)
was written during World War I
by Canadian  physician and Lieutenant John McCrae
from Guelph, Ontario.
He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915,
after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier,
Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypes.

In Flanders Fields was first published on December 8, 1915
in the London-based-magazine, Punch.


                                                  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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be;
we shall fight on the beaches;
we shall fight on the landing grounds;
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets;
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender!
(Winston Churchill)

The object of war is not to die for your country,
but to make the other bastard die for his.
(George S. Patton)

War does not determine who is right...
but who is left.
(Bertrand Russell)

A soldier will fight long and hard
for a bit of coloured ribbon.
(Napoleon Bonaparte)

In modern war...
you will die like a dog for no good reason.
(Ernest Hemingway)

In peace, sons bury their fathers.
In war, fathers bury their sons.

War will exist until that distant day
when the conscientious objector
enjoys the same reputation and prestige
that the warrior does today.
(Robert F. Kennedy)

Mankind must put an end to war
before war puts an end to mankind.
(Robert F. Kennedy)

There is always enlightenment…in any deep subject…and when this occurs,
a ray of hope usually lightens the load of what might become depressing. 
My son forwarded to me this appropriate brief story …Innocence is Priceless!
A boy, dressed in a pale green long-sleeved shirt and wearing a royal blue
backpack, pensively studied something that hung on a building wall.

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer 
of the church staring up at a large plaque.  It was covered with names and 
small American flags mounted on either side of it.  The six-year old 
had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, 
stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, “Good morning, Alex.”

“Good morning, Pastor,” he replied, still focused on the plaque.
“Pastor, what is this?”

The pastor said, “Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women
 who died in the service.”

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque.  Finally little Alex’s voice,
barely audible and trembling with fear, asked,  “Which service, the 9:00 or the 11:00?”

Merle Baird-Kerr...written October 31, 2012
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