Centennial of In Flanders Fields
To commemorate Remembrance Day, Bob wrote a brief background to the iconic poem of World War One, In Flanders Fields. Click the image above to see his 2015 Remembrance Day. Here is what Bob said on his MPP web site…
One hundred years ago, amid the carnage and chaos of World War One, and while at the front, Canadian Army Doctor (then Major) John McCrae wrote the most recognized poem of the war, and probably any war. He called it In Flanders Fields.
Said Sergeant-Major Cyril Allinson, the first person to ever read John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields, “The poem was 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 was May 3, 1915.
McCrae’s friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer had just died in the Second Battle of Ypres that spring. McCrae had just presided over Helmer’s funeral when he wrote his iconic words. McCrae didn’t have to be in France. He was 41 years old. He had fought in the Boer War at the turn of the century, and volunteered with the Canadian Expeditionary Force following the outbreak of World War One in the summer of 1914.
Just prior to the writing of In Flanders Fields, the German Army had attacked the Canadians and the British Expeditionary Force at Ypres, using chlorine gas. McCrae’s friend Alex Helmer was killed on May 2. McCrae, a native of Guelph Ontario, did not survive World War One.