"Did you have to learn 'In Flanders Field'?"I asked him.
Rather than give me a "yes" or "no" answer, he began to quote the poem: "In Flanders Field the poppies grow between the crosses row on row."
I tried to join him in reciting the poem. However, I dropped out of the recitation after I'd said the words above. He did, too, although he probably could have recited the entire poem word for word, since he has an incredible memory.
The following day, I searched the Internet for a copy of that poem. I found it, as well as information about who wrote what has become the world's most famous memorial poem. I learned that it was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae on March 3, 1915, the day after his friend (and former student) Alexis Helmer had been killed in the second battle of Ypres, Belgium. He composed it at the battlefront.
All the words evoked strong emotion, but the ones that stood out to me were these:
...short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders Field.
Yes, all too soon (from the human perspective), their lives had ended, as will yours and mine. Hopefully, they were prepared to meet their God. Hopefully, they honored Him and served Him and their fellow man during the days they lived. May that be true of us, as well.
|One of the many sections of the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA|
To hear someone read the entire poem aloud, please click here: