'In Flanders Fields'

 

An American Housewife (occasionally) in London
11/11/2012

In the US we know, vaguely, of November 11th as Veteran’s Day, which follows the Marine Corps birthday by a day.  Sadly, it isn’t much noticed.  Memorial Day in May is bigger in the national consciousness.

In the UK Remembrance Sunday is held the closest Sunday to November 11th, Armistice Day.  The UK does it right.  Starting November 1st, poppy sellers appear everywhere, like Salvation Army Santas.  For a pound or more donation to the pensioners’ funds (Here’s the link to the USO),  you get a red poppy to wear for the next few weeks.  Bright red poppies are everywhere in early November as a bright and silent reminder of those who have given all.  The poppy symbol comes from the poem “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.

 

The article continues at An American Housewife…

This famous poem was read to school children in American until around the early to mid-1960s. It was written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a soldier, physician and poet:

…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 Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially unsatisfied with his work, discarded it. “In Flanders Fields” was first published on December 8 of that year in the London-based magazine Punch.

…The poem and poppy are prominent Remembrance Day symbols throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, particularly in Canada, where “In Flanders Fields” is one of the nation’s best known literary works…

…The red poppies that McCrae referred to had been associated with war since the Napoleonic Wars when a writer of that time first noted how the poppies grew over the graves of soldiers.The damage done to the landscape in Flanders during the battle greatly increased the lime content in the soil, leaving the poppy as one of the few plants able to grow in the region…

At the BBC, a photo essay from 2009, “The Poppy Factory”:

A team of people, most of them disabled, work all year at The Royal British Legion Poppy Factory in Richmond, to make poppies and wreaths for the Poppy Appeal.

In total the team make around 34 million poppies, 5 million remembrance petals, 750,000 remembrance crosses and nearly 100,000 wreaths.

The poppies are traditionally worn in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Great Wars. Remembrance Sunday falls on the second Sunday in November every year….

Read the entire essay, and view the slide show, at BBC News. This morning’s Remembrance Sunday events were captured in photos and video and are also available at the news site.

From The Sunday Telegraph‘s Remembrance Sunday in Pictures:

 

A man lays a wreath as the Chelsea Pensioners parade past during the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London. Picture: PA

 

Queen Elizabeth II during Remembrance Sunday. Picture: PA

 

Wreaths are laid on the cenotaph during Remebrance Day in Sydney, Australia. Picture: AFP

 

In America we celebrate Veterans’ Day. From CBS News:

 

General George Patton attends a ceremony with other military leaders August 17, 1945, at the Triumphal Arch in Paris. (AFP/Getty Images)

 

…November 11th, 1885, 127 years ago today . . . a day of future consequence for the U.S. Army.

For that was the day George S. Patton was born in San Gabriel, Calif.

Patton attended West Point, and served as an officer in the Army’s brand new Tank Corps during World War I.

By sheer chance, the Armistice that ended the war in 1918 was declared on his 33rd birthday . . . November 11th, the date we now mark as Veterans Day.

By World War II, George Patton was a general, credited with decisive U.S. victories in North Africa, France and Germany…

…A survivor of two World Wars, General George S. Patton did not survive the peace.

He died in Germany of injuries from a traffic accident just before Christmas of 1945…

 

Today’s Bing.com wallpaper:

 

This Memorial Garden is to
honor the men and women in the
Armed Forces and the civilians
who have lost their lives in the
Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

We pray for all victims of war.
May their souls and the souls
of all the departed rest in peace.

 

The Dog Tag Memorial behind the Old North Church, Boston, Massachusetts.

 

” We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. “
~ George Orwell

 

Update: President Ronald Reagan Veterans Day Speech at Vietnam Veterans Memorial A video from 11 November 1988

At Nowzad Dogs Facebook page, “Today, as we remember all the brave men and women who gave their all we will also take time to remember the animals who stood by their side. ‘Lest we forget’ ”

 

 

Also on their Facebook page:

Annual Remembrance Service for Animals in War

The huge contribution made by millions of animals in military conflicts was remembered today (9th November 2012) as dogs, horses and even a mule attended a special remem

brance service at the Animals in War monument on London’s Park Lane.The animals attended the event alongside many of the UK’s animal welfare and advocacy organisations who laid wreaths in memory and admiration of all the animals that died whilst serving alongside their human allies.

Although the contribution made by animals in war has recently received international recognition with films such as War Horse, The Animals in War monument was only unveiled by HRH the Princess Royal in November 2004, 90 years after the start of World War I. Trustees of the Animals in War Memorial Fund raised the £2 million needed to build the monument through a national appeal and the consequent generosity of many individual donors, charities and companies.

• Eight million horses and donkeys died in the First World War whilst transporting ammunition and supplies to the frontline. Many mules also served courageously on the Western Front and in the overwhelming heat of Burma, Eritrea and Tunisia during World War II. They were represented today by Polo the Mule alongside The Irish Draught Horse Society (GB), The Donkey Sanctuary, The Horse Trust, The British Mule Society, World Horse Welfare, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, The Household Cavalry, The Brooke and Blue Cross

• Hundreds of dogs were used to run messages, lay telegraph wires, detect mines, dig out bomb victims and act as patrol dogs. Many of these bold dogs battled on despite suffering injuries, showing courage beyond belief and loyalty to their handlers. They were represented by Louie the Labrador alongside Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, PDSA, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, NOWZAD DOGS, RSPCA, Greyhound Rescue, Irish Terriers, and the Retired Greyhound Trust.

• More than 300,000 pigeons served Britain in the First and Second World War. They saved thousands of lives by carrying vital messages, over long distances. These feathered heroes struggled on through all weathers, often injured and exhausted in order to carry the vital messages. The Royal Pigeon Racing Association paid Tribute today.

Many other animals served bravely throughout the years, including elephants, camels, oxen, bullocks, cats, canaries and even glow worms. The Animals in War Memorial service is organised by Dogs Trust and the Petplan Charitable Trust. Animals in attendance this year include: three horses from the Household Cavalry led by Captain Rupert Hills, Polo the Mule accompanied by The British Mule Society and chocolate Labrador Louie accompanied by Dogs Trust.

Dogs Trust Chief Executive, Clarissa Baldwin OBE, commented:
“The Animals in War Memorial is a fitting tribute to the millions of animals who, through no choice of their own, served bravely alongside our servicemen and woman during military conflicts. Their contribution, whatever their size will be remembered forever with our sincerest thanks.”

Nowzad Dogs rescuing stray and abandoned animals in Afghanistan www.nowzad.com

 

 

 

*Photo – Pen Farthing founder and chairman of Nowzad Dogs remembering those who had no choice at the Animal in War memorial, London.

Update 2: For the first time Irish PM lays wreath for British war dead

BELFAST – Ireland’s prime minister [Enda Kenny] laid a wreath to honor fallen soldiers at a British Remembrance Day service for the first time on Sunday, the latest gesture of reconciliation between historic foes…

 

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