John McCrae and Veterans Day

I like David Henderson’s approach to this solemn day of focusing on the individuals involved in wars rather than the often-gestural generalities. Henderson highlights the moving second stanza of John McCrae’s 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.

How much of life they missed.

Side note: John McCrae and I attended the same high school, the Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute, and I remember playing baseball as a kid on a field across the street from his birthplace. Another GCVI grad was J.J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway.

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