To give us tomorrow, they gave their today

Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK, the day traditionally put aside to remember all those who have given their lives for peace and freedom. On this day people across the nation pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by the Service men and women.

Many wear poppies around this time of the year, inspired by the poem In Flanders’ Fields written by John McCrae. Some of the bloodiest fighting of World War One took place in the Flanders and Picardy regions of Belgium and Northern France.

The poppy was the only thing which grew in the aftermath of the complete devastation. McCrae, a doctor serving there with the Canadian Armed Forces, deeply inspired and moved by what he saw, wrote these verses

In Flanders’ Fields
John McCrae, 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.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the First World War ended. Civilians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives for peace and freedom. An American War Secretary, Moina Michael, inspired by John McCrae’s poem, began selling poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-Service community. And so the tradition began.

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3 Comments on “To give us tomorrow, they gave their today”

  1. classroomsandpopcorns Says:

    I remember Poppy day in Singapore. Instead if a flag, I would get a paper poppy.

  2. tintedglasses Says:

    I don’t remember Poppy Day – how long ago was it?

  3. classroomsandpopcorns Says:

    Ahem … when the British were still here.

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