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Wednesday's Word: In Flanders Fields

In grade school, once a year we had to memorize a poem and recite it for the whole class. Up until grade 5, at which point we had to start writing speeches. I detested public speaking, and have few memories of this part of my education.

I do, however, remember that I chose to memorize In Flanders Fields one year. I can still recall it from memory:

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our graves, but in the sky
The lark, still bravely singing, flies -
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead.
Short days ago, we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Loved and were loved.
But 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

(I verified that - and turns out I forget the first line of the last stanza...)

It's one of those once-a-year poems, but that didn't phase me when I was eight(ish). And it doesn't phase me now when I see it on our money either. Anyone know which bill it's on? Because Remembrance Day is one of the most important holidays of the year to me...I won't rave endlessly about my fabulous Grampie today. Although you should all read his story here.

I have been thinking about the reality of war in our current day and age, and I think that it is too easy for me to treat Remembrance Day as merely a salute to the past. But let's be honest. There are people from my species, my country, my city, my family who are fighting with other family members, sons and daughters who grew up in a town, in a country, in someone else's home. Who live through things that no one should have to experience.

Sometimes, we remember the past and forget the present. Let's not be like that.

Comments

Laura J said…
it's on the 10 dollar bill.

Remembering is so important. Remembering fallen soldiers, sacrifice and tragedy. None of us live the way we do independent of others actions. We could be living under tyranny but we live in a place of choice and freedom regardless or gender, race or religion. It's not perfect but it's amazing.

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