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Let us not forget today….People who died for our freedom during the wars! People who served during the wars….Remembrance day…11 November, 11 am….
A bit Afrikaans…
*****My gedagtes gaan ook na my eie pa wat in WWII geveg het, hy het skool op ouderdom 16 verlaat om ‘n Bomwerper te wees. Vandag het ek sy log-boek in my besit – omdat ek sy naamgenoot is – waarin al die vlugte opgeteken is, al die bomme wat afgegooi is, waar dit afgegooi is, watter teikens getref is…ens ens. Hy was in Egipte/Italie. Hy’s op ‘n vroeë ouderdom oorlede aan ‘n hartaanval en die dokter het gemeen dis die spanning van die oorlog, want blykbaar het baie soldate – van WWII –  op ‘n vroeë ouderdom gesterf deur spannings-verwante probleme wat die nagevolg is van die oorlog-spanning. *****
Image: sparkyteaching.com
Why the Poppy?
Scarlet poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as the First World War raged through Europe’s heart.The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in the First World War and later conflicts.
Listen to the song…”The Green Fields of France”…and you can download it here: http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/De/resources/remember/links.html …..

Click on THIS LINK to watch a video about  a Canadian Veteran talking about the war.

Read more here

In Flanders Fiels

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

By John McCrae 1915

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Reply to Flanders Fields
Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;
The torch your falling hands let go
Was caught by us, again held high,
A beacon light in Flanders sky
That dims the stars to those below.
You are our dead, you held the foe,
And ere the poppies cease to blow,
We’ll prove our faith in you who lie
In Flanders Fields.
Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
To you who bravely died, and know
In other fields was heard the cry,
For freedom’s cause, of you who lie,
So still asleep where poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
The mighty hosts appear, and high
Above the din of battle cry,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
And guard the place where poppies grow.
Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
In Flanders Fields.

And still the poppies gently blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.
The larks, still bravely soaring high,
Are singing now their lullaby
To you who sleep where poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

– John Mitchell

Poppies, picture by Tom Barret 

The most famous Canadian poem was inspired by one of the fiercest battles of the First World War.

During a lull in the battle, Lt.-Col. John McCrae scribbled the 13 lines of In Flanders Field on a scrap of paper, describing the horror he had seen at Ypres and the hope that it would not be forgotten.

McCrae, a tall, boyish 43-year-old member of the Canadian Medical Corps., was an artillery veteran of the Boer War in South Africa. He went to the line in at Ypres on April 22, 1915, the first time the enemy used poison gas.

But the first attack failed and so did the next wave and the next. For 17 days the allies repulsed wave after wave of the attacking enemy.

“One can see the dead lying there on the front field,” McCrae wrote ‘And in places where the enemy threw in an attack, they lie very thick on the slopes of the German trenches.”

McCrae, worked on the bank of the Yser Canal, dressing hundreds of wounded. At times the dead and wounded actually rolled down the bank from above his dugout. Other times, while awaiting the arrival of batches of wounded, he would watch the men at work in the burial plots which were quickly filling up.

Finally, McCrae and his unit were relieved and he wrote home: “We are weary in body and wearier in mind. The general impression in my mind is one of a nightmare”.

In April 1915, his closest friend was killed.

McCrae, who had written poetry since childhood in Guelph, Ont., sat down and distilled his thoughts about the war into his famous poem.

A full life … As well as being poet and author, John McCrae was a teacher and doctor before going overseas to fight the war.
He mailed the hand-written sheet off to Punch magazine in England and it was published in December 1915.

McCrae never returned home from the war. He died of pneumonia in Boulogne, France on January 28, 1918.

Near the town of Mennin, in Flanders, Belgium, they’ve restored as a shrine the battlefield bunker where McCrae wrote his famous poem. In memory of McCrae and other war dead, a bugler plays the Last Post every evening.

Born to a Scottish family that operated woolen and lumber mills, McCrae graduated from Guelph Collegiate with a scholarship to the University of Toronto.

He earned a B.A. and a medical degree at Toronto, did graduate work at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, served as a gunner with Canadian Field Artillery in the Boer War and then moved to Montreal.

His Guelph home is now a museum that attracts visitors from Belgium, France, Britain and Germany.
Source: http://www.canoe.ca/RemembranceDay/mccrae.html

This next poem was written by a South African poet about a South African that died at Vlaandere during the war…

Aan die graf van ‘n onbekende Boerseun in Vlaandere

Erens in Vlaanderland het jy die stof
van ou Europa met jou bloed verjong;
maar by jou wrede heengaan kon g’n tong
jou vroom toeprewel: “Stof is jy, tot stof. . .”

Met ragtime-deuntjies in jou kop het jy
uiteindelik jou Golgota gevind. –
0, opdraand was jou skofte, trekkerskind, –
jy kón nie in jou tuiste vatplek kry!

En êrens in ou VIaanderland staan daar
In eensame klein kruisie. – Seun van God!
Moet ons ou volkie aanhou offer tot
ons, soos U Kruis, oor heel die wêreld staar?

Stil, stil, my hart, al kan jy niks meer dra; –
in Vlaand’re rus ‘n seun van Afrika!

JRL Van Bruggen

An American, Miss Moira Michael, read In Flanders’ Fields and wrote a reply entitled We Shall Keep the Faith:

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew,
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led.

It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders’ fields.

And now the torch and poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.

Other poets of the time were also stirred to write responses to McCrae’s poem.

America’s Answer
Rest ye in peace, ye Flanders’ dead.
The fight that ye so bravely led
We’ve taken up. And we will keep
True faith with you who lie asleep
With a cross to mark his bed,
In Flanders’ fields.

Fear not that ye have died for naught.
The torch ye threw to us we caught.
Ten million hands will hold it high,
And Freedom’s light shall never die!
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.

R.W. Lilliard

Reply to In Flanders’ Fields
In Flanders’ fields the cannons boom,
And fitful flashes light the gloom;
While up above, like eagles, fly
The fierce destroyers of the sky;
With stains the earth wherein you lie
Is redder than the poppy bloom,
In Flanders’ fields.

Sleep on, ye brave! The shrieking shell,
The quaking trench, the startling yell,
The fury of the battle hell
Shall wake you not, for all is well;
Sleep peacefully, for all is well.

Your flaming torch aloft we bear,
With burning heart and oath we swear
To keep the faith, to fight it through,
To crush the foe, or sleep with you,
In Flanders’ fields.

J. A. Armstrong

Reply to Flanders’ Fields
Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;
The torch your falling hands let go
Was caught by us, again held high,
A beacon light in Flanders’ sky
That dims the stars to those below.
Your are our dead, you held the foe
And ere the poppies cease to blow,
We’ll prove our faith in you who lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
To you who bravely died, and know
In other fields was heard the cry,
For freedom’s cause, of you who lie,
So still asleep where poppies grow,
In Flanders’ fields.

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
The mighty hosts appear, and high
Above the din of battle cry,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
And guard the place where poppies grow.
Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
In Flanders’ fields.

And still the poppies gently blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.
The larks, still bravely soaring high,
Are singing now their lullaby
To you who sleep where poppies grow
In Flanders’ fields.

John Mitchell

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