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.
by John McCrae (1872-1918)
This beautiful poem, written by John McCrae, declares the need for us to remember the fallen soldiers who gave their lives in defense of their country. The poppy itself is a flower that grew in abundance wildly across the field of Flanders where many lives were lost during the first World War. The imagery of red flowers growing amongst bloodied soldiers is not only a vivid reminder of the cost of war, but the bravery exhibited during battle.
In ancient times, the poppy was used as an offering by the Greeks and Romans for the dead. The opiate effects of the drug extracted from this flower, denote sleep – a numbing that overtakes the mind in the face of the enemy – but no amount of numbing can take away the memories these warriors face on a daily basis. The scars of war are often more invisible and internal than physical. The blood red color also is a reminder of the cost of military engagement. More precious than any accolades delivered later.
Heroes most often don’t consider themselves any different than anyone else who loves their country. We all have the capability to come through in the time of extreme distress, when we place our faith in the greatest hero of all time – Jesus, Christ, our beautiful Savior.
Facing the enemy as youth, with only basic knowledge of battle – unknown fears – displaying courage in spite of seemingly untold odds – pushing on for a cause. This is what it takes to be a hero. The men and women who serve their country in this way deserve to be honored not only on Memorial Day, but on every day of the year.