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In Flanders Fields

Poem of Remembrance by John McCrae

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Flanders Poppies

Flanders Poppies

Tom Brakefield / Getty Images

Updated: 11/09/2013

During World War I, John McCrae, a Canadian doctor and soldier, tended the wounded and dying at the Second Battle of Ypres in the Flanders area of Belgium as the Canadians held their ground against chlorine gas attacks. When his friend Lt. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa was killed, McCrae performed a quick funeral service. The next day he wrote the poem In Flanders Fields.

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.

~John McCrae, 1915

First published in Punch magazine in 1915, the poem In Flanders Fields has become an abiding symbol of remembrance worldwide.

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