Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Flander's Fields

Memorials outside London's Westminster Abbey f...Image via Wikipedia

It's kind of a tradition for me to post the following classic war poem on Remembrance Day. I've been thinking a lot more than usual about the importance of pausing to remember this year. The particular religious group that I work for refuses to acknowledge Remembrance Day, or participate in the national poppy campaign to raise money for veterans. They are pacifists, and argue that acknowledging this holiday legitimizes and glorifies war. I feel just the opposite - that while I generally hold pacifist principles, it is the contribution of those who fought that lets me hold those principles. So, this year, like each and every other year, I present to you, "Flander's Fields" by John McCrae and "We Shall Keep the Faith" by Moina Michael.

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.

We Shall Keep the Faith

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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