Sarah + Tim

a canadian, american and calico living in perfect harmony

In Flanders Fields November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day at the Vancouver Cenotaph, 11/11/07. Photo by Rob ShaerIn Canada, November 11 is known as Remembrance Day and marks a pivotal day in history when World War I ended.  On the eleventh day of the eleventh month on the eleventh hour, Canadians all over remember the price of freedom and the blood that was spilt on their behalf.

Remembrance Day always evokes memories of singing in the cold, dressed in black, for the cenotaph in Downtown Vancouver.  Hundreds would gather at similar cenotaphs nationwide with citizens dressed in black with red poppies.  As members of the Vancouver Bach Youth Choir, we would sing old war songs, Abide With Me and In Flanders Field.

In Flanders Field is a stirring poem written Lieutenant Colonel John McRae (1872 – 1918) who served in the Canadian Army.  He wrote it in the midst of administering to the wounded soldiers and mourning the loss of one of his friends.  It almost wasn’t published, but someone saw him discard it and recovered the poem, which was published shortly thereafter.

Original Copy of In Flanders Field

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 we break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

May we always remember and never forget their great sacrifice.