IN FLANDERS FIELDS
by John McCrae
Art by Andrea Farmer
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.
My 24 year old maternal grandfather lies there….visiting the beautiful memorials is incredibly sad.
He was Welsh….his first time abroad…leaving his wife and two babies under the age of 3…my mother and aunt..
A generation that never knew their father….lives that were changed forever.
The first time we visited it was grey and stormy….I felt so sad that my grandfather died in such an ugly place…trying to imagine how a young man fresh out of rural Wales must have felt….he wasn’t a career soldier..he had no choice…cannon fodder…
Second visit…again grey and wet…we arrived ,as we arrived at the memorial…..the sun suddenly streamed through and the white memorial shone …it was so beautiful that I found myself crying…sad for all those young men but at the same time …proud..they were fighting for freedom…they sacrificed so much…
now I find myself thinking …the world as it is today?was the sacrifice worth it?
With you that one Marmite.
The world has become a sordid place full of religious hate and selfishness. I fear for what dystopian future awaits my grandchildren. Oh for world with leaders who have understanding and peace in their hearts and minds.
‘Last night on Ch 5 there was a documentary about the battle of Britain which featured the often sad stories of some of the brave protagonists.
It featured a veteran in his 90’s who served as an armourer for a fighter squadron.
He recounted how after the Squadron had scrambled they would basically wait and wait and wait. Suddenly the planes would arrive back, they would count them back. Often fewer returned than had set off.
He and his fellow ground crew would wait in their particular service area for their particular aircraft and pilot which on arrival they would work flat out to re arm refuel and repair ready for action.
Sometimes their plane did not come back, next to them their colleague’s would be working on their own aircraft.
They just stood and waited and cried.
Asked how many times that happened during the battle of Britain he replied five.
Lest we forget.
The Christmas Day soccer match in WW1 between British soldiers (kids) and German soldiers (kids) sums it up for me. The top brass on both side weren’t happy about it though. Lions indeed were led by donkeys.
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