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) Canadian Army
I have heard this poem many times when I was in high school. I played in the marching band that would follow the VFW color guard to all the cemeteries where their fallen comrades had been laid to rest. The poem and the tribute did not mean much to me when I was in high school; yeah sure, I got a tear in my tear when I heard the majestic echo of taps from a far by a hidden trumpet player; I was just a ungrateful teen that needed the extra credit for band: I had no idea the sacrifice that was made to keep me free. Now, the tributes ring deep in my soul and wrenches the tears from my heart, because now, I am an Army wife. I understand the sacrifice; the hot tears roll down my face as I write this now thinking of the families of loved ones that paid the ultimate sacrifice. Those soldiers stand on a wall and take arms and say, “I will keep you safe tonight; nothing is going to hurt you on my watch.” They provide the blanket of freedom that I sleep under; I no longer take for granted “Flanders Fields.” The 15 x 10 foot flag that drapes my house is a tribute to all those soldiers that have volunteered to defend my freedom from foreign and domestic threats. I not only have Old Glory enveloping my house but, also the “Lest they be Forgotten” flag designed for the fallen heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom; the war of my time. I present these flags for all who drive by and, see a blur of red, white, and blue with the utmost pride and admiration for “my” troops and my husband. Sacrifice is not only made in with flesh and blood by our soldiers but, also in irreplaceable time that their families miss; it can never be restored, a babies first steps, a daughters graduation, or the opportunity to say good bye to a sick loved one; all these precious moments in time are given up for my ability to write this, or to laugh, or to own a gun. I am grateful for the ultimate sacrifice the men and women of this country have made for me; they have picked up a gun when few others would to defend my liberty. My country is mine because of them; so, now when I go and see the color guard give tribute on Memorial Day with their 21 gun solute and with a shakey voice reciet “Flanders Field,” I am no longer the naive teenager who stupidly took the moment for granted; I stand proud and tall and realize that some day they will be paying tribute to my husband and his service that he unselfishly gave for me.