On January 28, 1918, the Canadian poet John McCrea died during World War I France. He left us many poems, including the most famous written by him: In Flanders Fields.
In Flanders Fields
For those of you, who are not familiar with World War I and the battles that were fought in this war that lasted four years: World War I came to a halt in Belgium. The battlefront came to a halt in the muddy soils of Flanders and Wallonia. Those who battled each other were fighting for meters, sometimes even centimetres. Cities were destroyed and thousands of lives lost. Including that of the Canadian poet John McCrae.
The poem is an eyewitness experience, as McCrae was a Lieutenant-Colonel. He wrote this poem on May 3, 1915. The death of a friend (and fellow soldier), Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, inspired McCrae to write this poem.
This poem is about those battles that were fought in Flanders. The poem was used as propaganda by the Allies. They used this to attract new recruits and to sell the war bonds.
Those red poppies that McCrae mentioned in this poem grew on the graves of those soldiers who died during the war.
In Flanders Field
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.
— John McCrae
January 1918 – January 2018
There is a very good reason for us to publish one of the most famous war-poems of all time. On January 28, 1918, McCrae died of pneumonia in the No. 3 Canadian General Hospital McGill in Boulogne-Sur-Mer. At that time, he was still in command of the same hospital. The next day, he was buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s section of Wimereux Cemetery, just outside Boulogne-Sur-Mer.