Defense Media Network

Memorial Day Poem: In Flanders Fields

This Memorial Day, another poem for those who lost their lives while in service to their nation. In Flanders Field, written by Canadian John McCrae, MD (November 30, 1872 – January 28, 1918) who served as a soldier and surgeon in the Canadian Army during World War I. The poem was inspired by the killing of his friend and former militia pal, Lt. Alexis Helmer, during the Second Battle of Ypres. The poem was written on May 3, 1915, and first published in the magazine Punch. McCrae would die some three years later from pneumonia as the Great War was coming to an end.


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 McRae


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