100 years on – We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought In Flanders Fields.

Normandy Graves

 

In Flanders Fields

Flanders Poppy on the First World War battlefields.

by John McCrae, May 1915

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.

Inspiration for the poem

Flanders poppies

Having read John McCraeโ€™s poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ Moina Michael made a personal pledge to ‘keep the faith’. She felt compelled to make a note of this pledge and hastily scribbled down a response entitled โ€œWe Shall Keep the Faithโ€ on the back of a used envelope. From that day she vowed to wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance.

 

We Shall Keep the Faith

by Moina Michael, November 1918

Moina Michael

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

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13 thoughts on “100 years on – We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought In Flanders Fields.

  1. It is a powerful message…..but I am far from convinced that collectively we have learnt the lessons of conflict. Our World is still challenged by too many areas of conflict. So now more than ever we ‘Best Not Forget’

    1. I am with you – I am certain we have learned absolutely nothing – But the thing I take a way from the Moina Michael poem is that it is our duty to tell the next generation in the hope that one day we will learn. There was always the fear that once the last World War 1 Veteran passed away we would forget. Fortunately Remembrance is top of the agenda especially with magnificent ceramic poppy display at the Tower of London. Which I hope to get to see.

      1. I agree and wish that I had been able to get to London…..even just the TV and News Images were spectacular and moving. I have also seen many WW1 displays at National trust Properties this year. Some obviously created to coincide with the centenary but a few that were very particular to that property. One I thought especially important was in the bedroom of an old Farm and was a memorial to a young 19 year old who joined up and died in the first 6 months…it featured his bedroom as he was supposed to have left it and now included the personal effects returned by the War Office, his letters home and of course his last letter. It was a mix of military/farm/youth and family. My concern which I expressed to the custodians was that I hoped it would remain as a permanent tribute and not removed at the turn of the year….they could not tell me that it would be so. A great shame. Then of course we have 2018 which perhaps is just as great an importance
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