Memorial Day 2012 Post – John McCrae: WWI University of Vermont Professor and Author of “In Flanders Fields”

What better way to remember Memorial Day than to post the most famous war poem of all time?  This poem was written by Lt. John McCrae, a surgeon with a Canadian field artillery unit during the Second Battle of Ypres on May 3rd, 1915.  The poem became an almost instant hit with the troops and with the homefront community “across the pond”.

What makes McCrae so special to me?  He taught at my alma mater, the University of Vermont, between 1903 and 1911 where he taught Pathology in Williams Hall.  I spent four years studying anthropology and archaeology in the hallowed halls of Williams, making my connection to McCrae even stronger.

This post is dedicated to all those who never returned home from the killing fields of France, Belgium, and Germany during WWI.

 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.

McCrae entry from The University of Vermont in the Great War

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