I never met my great uncle, Russell. He died in World War II. His three brothers, including my grandfather, served as did my grandmother's brother, two of my uncles, my father in law and my father. Not to mention numerous other friends and relatives. In gratitude to them and the hundreds of other solders, sailors, airmen and marines, I offer this.
It is a poem that has become iconic. Written by a doctor in the Canadian army after he had just treated, and then performed the funeral for, a friend and former student, it reminds us of the sacrifices of war.
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.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
For more on the story of this poem, click here.
As you enjoy Memorial Day, remember those who serve, those who have served and those who made the Supreme Sacrifice.