Archive for May, 2009

We Remember & We Celebrate

First I want to thank you for sticking with me during my absence.  I had very unexpected rotator cuff surgery and have just been released to use my arm & hand…I am glad to have inky fingers again!  Again Thanks…Jan Marie So on to the business at hand.  and yes it is a little late, but I hope worth the read.

Today We Remember with a day set aside for our fallen, men of valor that sleep in cemeteries across the world. I hope you will take a moment to pause and remember these great service members who gave so much so we could live in liberty.
As a young girl growing up, I often took part in the celebration of Memorial Day. Today,as then our Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)give out poppies as a  reminder of these great service members. So many of these traditions have fallen to the wayside, but in a town like Pensacola where the military has such a great presence we still see these and many other like traditions. Our Nation Cemetery, like others around the globe will decorate each headstone with a US flag. Some have a formal retreat at sunset with taps played as candles are lite on each grave. What a heart rendering site.

We Remember, We Cerebrate!

I wanted to also take a moment to share the following poem and the story that follows. Lest we forget.

In Flanders Fields By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

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’s “In Flanders Fields” remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:
Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.
As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans — in the Ypres salient.
It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:
“I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.”
One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae’s dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.
The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l’Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.
In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.
A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. “His face was very tired but calm as we wrote,” Allinson recalled. “He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer’s grave.”
When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:


 In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

“The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.”
We Remember & We Celebrate

Stamp:Poppy Patch, FLLC
Papers: Real Red, Night of Navy, White, Brushed Gold Metallic
Accessories: Ribbon from SU years ago
Tools: Cuttlebug Dotted Swiss Folder, corrugator
Inks White for distressing over dots and line for form flag; Hybrid Palette Noir
           Copics  By Flourishes-The Poppy Collection


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