Memorial Day - In Flanders Fields


Category:  History & Sociology

Via:  kavika  •  last year  •  41 comments

Memorial Day - In Flanders Fields

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Memorial Day is for those American servicemen and women that died in battle. 

The Red Poppy and the poem Flanders Fields are know though out north America and much of the world. 

This is the history and the poem. 

Take a minute to remember those that have fallen in battle. 


In Flanders Fields , one of history’s most famous wartime poems, written in 1915 during the   First World War   by Canadian officer and surgeon   John McCrae . It helped popularize the red   poppy   as a symbol of remembrance.


“In Flanders Fields” Illustration for John McCrae's “In Flanders Fields” from a limited-edition book (1921) containing the poem. From   In Flanders Fields by John McCrae (W.E. Rudge, New York, 1921)



Remembering World War I: John McCrae: In Flanders Fields

Lieut. Col. John McCrae was unusual among the “trench poets” in that he was a senior officer with prior combat experience. Having previously…


When he volunteered at age 41 for service in the First World War, McCrae wrote to a friend that “I am really rather afraid, but more afraid to stay at home with my conscience.” In April 1915, McCrae and a young friend, Alexis Helmer, joined the 18,000 soldiers of the First Canadian Division in their positions near Ypres, Belgium. The   Second Battle of Ypres   commenced on 22 April and lasted for six hellish weeks. It was during this battle that the Germans launched the first large-scale poison gas attacks of the war.

A Montréal physician, McCrae served as a major and a surgeon with the Canadian Field Artillery, in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Ypres was the Force’s first major engagement of the war.

“The general impression in my mind is of a nightmare,” McCrae wrote to his mother, “…And behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the line should give way.

On 2 May, Alexis Helmer was killed. Because the brigade chaplain was absent, McCrae—as the brigade doctor—conducted the burial service for his friend. Later, at Helmer’s grave, he wrote a few lines of verse that were the beginning of the poem “In   Flanders   Fields.”

“In Flanders Fields” Published

Before the war, McCrae had written poetry in   Canada , and some of his work had been published.

McCrae later sent a finished copy of his war poem to   The Spectator   magazine in   London , where it was rejected. But a journalist who visited the hospital took a copy back to   Punch   magazine, which printed it—anonymously, without McCrae’s name—on 8 December 1915. Within months it became the most popular poem of the war. Its powerful use of the symbol of the poppies blooming from the churned earth led to the tradition, to this day, of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those killed in service.


“In Flanders Fields” Illustration for John McCrae's “In Flanders Fields” from a limited-edition book (1921) containing the poem. From   In Flanders Fields by John McCrae (W.E. Rudge, New York, 1921)

By 1917 “In Flanders Fields” was known throughout the English-speaking world. It was used to further the war effort, to raise money for the troops, and to help recruit American soldiers as the   United States   mobilized to enter the war. John McCrae became a household name in the US.


McCrae’s poem is read by millions in Canada and around the world each Remembrance Day. There have also been various settings to music, among which that of   William Hewlett   is used during Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa. A history museum in the ancient Cloth Hall in Ypres (Ieper), Belgium, is named after the poem. The special exhibition gallery in the Canadian War Museum is also named for McCrae.

The Poem

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.




jrDiscussion - desc
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1  seeder  Kavika     last year

The first battle in which the Germans used poison gas. The Battle of Ypres.


Buzz of the Orient
2  Buzz of the Orient    last year

Remembrance Day (Canada's Memorial Day) is November 11.  In Canada most adult Canadians purchase cloth poppies from Legionnaires to wear around that time, and two minutes of silent stillness should be observed by all Canadians at the stroke of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month out of respect for the fallen.

3  Enoch    last year

May those of such valor rest in well deserved peace and honor. 


3.1  luther28  replied to  Enoch @3    last year


3.1.1  Enoch  replied to  luther28 @3.1    last year

Dear Friend Luther: As our good friend and Brother Kavika knows, every Memorial Day, July 4th and Veterans Day, as during each week I make it a point to visit the V.A. Hospital System in various semi local places as a Chaplain and fellow former combat veteran.

There are those who will be all the rest of the days of their lives in the V.A. System.  

It is important for them, if they have no family, or family is too far to visit that they not be alone, and feeling forgotten or abandoned after all they did for us.

Human contact, reading a newspaper to the blind, watching a ball game with those alone, playing cards, just talking makes all the difference in the world to these brave warriors.

Parades are good. We should honor the memory of the fallen. Dying on a field of honor isn't the worst  thing that can happen to a combatant.

It is often far worse to lose the freedom to live life as a contributor, not as a drain on the society whose freedom is the result of hard fought efforts on the part of these valiant people.

After the long harsh northern winters melt away, and pre-summer BBQ opportunities abound on the holiday family time is invaluable. It should occur. 

We should all set aside some time to be with those who make what we take for granted possible.

That is only right and fair.

"Don't forget, go visit a vet".



Raven Wing
3.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Enoch @3.1.1    last year

Very well said Dear Brother Enoch. Thank you.

3.1.3  dave-2693993  replied to  Enoch @3.1.1    last year

You are a good person person and admirable example Enoch.

Thank you.

3.1.4  Enoch  replied to  Raven Wing @3.1.2    last year

Dear Sister Raven Wing: Most welcome.


3.1.5  Enoch  replied to  dave-2693993 @3.1.3    last year

Dear Friend Dave: Many thanks.


3.1.6  luther28  replied to  Enoch @3.1.1    last year

You are a rare human being, rare and priceless.

4  Ed-NavDoc    last year

As a retired disabled military vet, I am usually thanked by people for my service and wished a happy Memorial Day. Finding that somewhat uncomfortable when I am told that, I routinely and calmly thank people for their sentiments but that they should reserve their thanks on Memorial Day to those that gave their last full measure and did not make it home alive. They are the true meaning and reason for Memorial Day

5  Jasper2529    last year

I know that I sound like an old fogey to some people when I discuss the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but it irks me when I hear people say "Happy Memorial Day". This used to be taught in our schools, and even a simple diagram would be enough.


Over a period of time, the practice of wearing poppies has become synonymous to both, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, such that it doesn't serve as a point of distinction between the two anymore. But beyond remembrance poppies, there do exist many differences between the two. For a start, Memorial Day is when we remember those who sacrificed their lives for us, while Veterans Day is when we thank living veterans for their service to the nation.

6  dave-2693993    last year

Peace to all those who have fallen.

7.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Jasper2529 @7    last year

Hi Jasper, 

JR posted an article on this yesterday. It certainly is welcomed on this article as well. 

The ''Old Guard''...3rd Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army. The 3rd Regiment is the oldest active infantry unit in the U.S. Army. They date back to the 1700's....

8  Jasper2529    last year
The Poem

I had a fantastic middle school English teacher who had us memorize this poem. I've never forgotten it.

Thank you for posting this, Kavika.

9  XDm9mm    last year

Nothing more need be said.


All Gave Some - Some Gave All

Perrie Halpern R.A.
10  Perrie Halpern R.A.    last year

I would like to add the name of a home town local, a young man who gave his life for his country:

Marine CPL. Robert Hendriks, Locust Valley, NY. 

10.1  Jasper2529  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @10    last year
Robert Hendriks, Locust Valley, NY. 

His death was very recent - April 2019. Condolences to family, friends, and community.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
10.1.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Jasper2529 @10.1    last year

Thanks for posting the Newsday article. It really shook up this small town. it hits home when it's in your own back yard and everyone knows you. 

10.1.2  Jasper2529  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @10.1.1    last year

You're welcome. It seemed to be the best tribute to Cpl. Hendriks. 

 it hits home when it's in your own back yard and everyone knows you. 

Yes, it does. When my wife and I took the kids to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, we found the names of classmates from our towns who died in combat.


11  seeder  Kavika     last year

If any member lost a friend or relative or simply want to honor a specific person please feel free to add their name and anything you would like to say about them. 

I'll start. 

In honor of PFC Monroe, 101st Airborne. KIA Battle of the Bulge, December 1944.

In honor of Mitchell Red Cloud, 24th Infantry Division.  KIA November 5th, 1950 Korea...Medal of Honor recipient 

Raven Wing
12  Raven Wing    last year

To those who have given their all for the love of their country, its people, and their loved ones, Thank You.

Like those who have gone before you, you will never be forgotten and you will live in our hearts forever. 

May the Creator hold you in His loving hands as you take the next steps in your own eternal journey.

nv-wa-do-hi-ya-dv (Peace)

13  seeder  Kavika     last year

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Hoka Hey

Perrie Halpern R.A.
13.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @13    last year

Beautiful video and a fine tribute to all Indians who gave their lives for their country. 

13.2  Jasper2529  replied to  Kavika @13    last year

A very moving tribute to an American who gave all in service to his country.  

14  Nona62    last year

Mr. Nona's father died in the war, and never got to see his only son.  Mr. Nona has is Father's flag, and feels  very proud to have it in his possession.

14.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Nona62 @14    last year

A salute to an American Hero.....Mr. Nona's dad.

14.1.1  Nona62  replied to  Kavika @14.1    last year

Thank you Chief !!  

15  Uptownchick    last year


Buzz of the Orient
16  Buzz of the Orient    last year

Sydney Lees, late of Hamilton, Ontario, son of my great-uncle, RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) navigator in a bomber shot down over Europe during WWII, never to return. Lost, but never forgotten by those who loved him.

17  seeder  Kavika     last year

A salute to Sydney Lees, Canadian hero.

18  1stwarrior    last year


19  1stwarrior    last year


20  1stwarrior    last year

To my father - LTC John . . . . . . . . WWII, Korea, Vietnam.  To my nephew Lee Jennings . . . . . . . . Iraq, Afghanistan.

RIP - you are missed, loved and honored.

20.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  1stwarrior @20    last year

A salute to LTC John and Lee Jennings. American Hero's.

Raven Wing
21  Raven Wing    last year


21.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Raven Wing @21    last year

Stunning RW.

22  Ed-NavDoc    last year

To my father, James Henry Holton WW II.

22.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Ed-NavDoc @22    last year

A salute to James Henry Holton, American hero.

23  JohnRussell    last year

In 10 days it will be the 75th anniversary of D-Day


LCVP  (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) from the  U.S. Coast Guard -manned  USS   Samuel Chase  disembarks troops of Company E,  16th Infantry 1st Infantry Division (the Big Red One)  wading onto the Fox Green section of  Omaha Beach  (Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France) on the morning of June 6, 1944. American soldiers encountered the newly formed  German 352nd Division  when landing. During the initial landing two-thirds of Company E became casualties.

Omaha Beach

The landing craft ground to a halt. The British coxswain lowered the ramp. For a brief moment there was silence, and then the first two men, standing in front of Murdoch, charged off the LCA. “[Dominguez] … ran off at the right side and he was immediately cut in half by machine-gun fire. At the same time that [he] jumped, I jumped from the left side … of the ramp and found myself in about nine feet of water.” The landing craft had hit a sandbar. Murdoch inflated his Mae West life vest, grabbed onto a landing craft, and rode it into the beach.

Company A ran into a literal wall of enemy fire—machine guns, rifles, mortars, and artillery. The Americans didn’t have a chance. From the advantage of the high ground overlooking this section of beach the Germans poured fire on their helpless adversaries. Sergeant Thomas Valance staggered out of the same boat as Murdoch. Valance crouched over and waded through knee-high water. As he did so, he could see tracer bullets coming from a massive concrete bunker that enfiladed the whole beach. He could also see a few houses farther up the draw. Bullets and shrapnel were buzzing everywhere. He heard the sickening thud of enemy metal tearing through the bodies of his men. He fell to the ground, and the incoming tide washed around him. “I remember floundering in the water with my hand up in the air … trying to get my balance, when I was shot … through the
left hand and suffered from a broken knuckle. And I was shot through the palm of my hand.”

The wound didn’t really hurt; it just stung. Valance looked to his right. Private Henry Witt was crawling to- ward him. Witt looked at Valance and screamed, “Sergeant, they’re leaving us here to die like rats!”

Valance turned away and crawled up the beach. He found a carbine and squeezed off a couple of ineffective rounds in the direction of the bunker. “There was no way I was going to knock out a German concrete emplace- ment with a thirty-caliber rifle.” Firing the ineffective carbine at the bunker was a mistake. The enemy machine gunners turned their attention to Valance. “I was hit several times, once in the left thigh, which broke a hipbone.

I remember being hit in the pack a couple of times, feeling a tug, and my chin strap … was severed by a bullet. I worked my way up onto the beach and staggered up against a [sea]wall.” All day long he lay there wounded, watching the bodies of his friends, “in many cases, severely blown to pieces,” wash up with the rising tide. 

Within ten minutes, all but two of of A Company’s officers were killed. Those two were Lieutenant Edward Gearing and Lieutenant Elijah “Ray” Nance, who was hit in the heel as he exited his landing craft. A machine-gun bullet hit another officer, Lieutenant Alfred Anderson, in the throat as he left his boat. He collapsed into the shallow water, thrashed around, and tried to speak, all with blood gushing from his slashed throat. “Advance with the wire cutters,” he gasped. More machine-gun bullets sliced Anderson in half. Every man on LCA-1015 was killed, including the company commander, Captain Taylor Fellers, who had foreseen this disaster. Most of their thirty-two bodies washed onto the beach in the course of the day. They might have hit a mine, or perhaps they were raked over by German machine guns, mortars, and artillery. No one ever knew for sure.

The entire scene was absolutely ghastly, far beyond the power of any words to describe it. Not far away from where Valance encountered Witt, Private First Class Dom Bart could not even make it beyond the waterline.

“With a stream of lead coming towards us, we were at the mercy of the Germans.” Bart put his head down and played dead. “I floated around in the water for about one hour and was more dead than alive. Tried to land at several places, but always had to withdraw. It was impossible to get ashore. I lost all hopes and said my last prayer to the Good Lord.”


The Americans at D-Day: The American Experience at the Normandy Invasion

By   John C. McManus


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