Tuesday, November 11, 2014


What used to be known commonly as Armistice Day (now Veterans Day in the U.S.) commemorated the end of World War I at 11am on November 11, 1918.   In remembrance of the beginning of World War I in early August 1914 and the sacrifice of those who perished, a display of ceramic red poppies has recently been assembled spilling out from the Tower of London and into its surrounding moat.   There are 888,246 poppies; one for each soldier, sailor and airman of the British Commonwealth who died during the war.

The poppy is the symbol of remembrance for Britain and its Commonwealth.

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.
In Flanders Fields was written by Major John McCrae, a surgeon serving with Canada's army in Belgium, in May 1915 in memory of a friend recently killed.  McCrae died of pneumonia in January 1918 while serving as commander of a Canadian field hospital.  For a more jaded soldier's view of the war see Dolce et Docurem Est.

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